Los Angeles – API Equality-LA is thrilled that the Obama administration has decided to stop defending Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a law enacted 15 years ago that federally defined marriage for the first time as a legal union between a man and a woman.
“This is truly a historic day,” said Reverend Dr. Jonipher Kwong, Executive Director of API Equality-LA, “We are glad the President chose to take leadership on this critical issue and raise the bar of fairness; API Equality-LA wholeheartedly supports the President’s actions today. We hope Congress and our court system choose a similar path toward greater acceptance in our society for all families by repealing DOMA altogether.”
President Obama and the Attorney General agreed that DOMA, signed during the Clinton Era, is unconstitutional, and the Department of Justice (DOJ) will no longer defend DOMA in pending cases before the Second Circuit. In a White House press statement, the President “has concluded that given a number of factors, including a documented history of discrimination, classifications based on sexual orientation should be subject to a more heightened standard of scrutiny.” Attorney General Eric Holder concurs with the President that DOMA is discriminatory toward gay and lesbian people. DOJ will no longer actively defend it, although it will remain parties in the case, continue to represent the interests of the U.S. in the litigation, and allow Congressional members to defend the statute. However, it is significant that the administration will no longer assert the constitutionality of Section 3 of the DOMA.