Obama: Law Against Gay Marriage Unconstitutional

In big shift, feds will no longer defend DOMA in court
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 23, 2011 12:32 PM CST
In this file photo from 2008, Eric Manriquez, left, and Juan Rivera hold their gold wedding rings together as they get married in East Los Angeles.   (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)

(Newser) – Big win for gay rights advocates: The Obama administration has concluded that the Defense of Marriage Act—the law that bars federal recognition of same-sex marriage—is unconstitutional and won't defend it in court anymore, reports NPR. The president gave the Justice Department its new marching orders today, and Eric Holder says he agrees with the decision. (Click for his statement.)

"The significance of this development cannot be overstated," writes Max Simon at the gay blog Queerty. "No longer will the federal government truly stand in the way of lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of DOMA's Section 3. Which means if Congress does not repeal the law, the courts will, and the Obama administration won't get in their way." Plus, Holder finally used the word "unconstitutional," he notes. "This is a great day."

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