||Last Updated: Feb 23rd, 2011 - 15:02:00
The Defense of Marriage Act will no longer be defended by the Obama administration. The President has concluded that his administration cannot continue to defend the Defense of Marriage Act, a federal law banning recognition of same-sex marriage, because it only defines marriage as between a man and a woman.
According to Attorney General Eric Holder, the congressional debate during passage of the Defense of Marriage Act "contains numerous expressions reflecting moral disapproval of gays and lesbians and their intimate and family relationships � precisely the kind of stereotype-based thinking and animus the (Constitution's) Equal Protection Clause is designed to guard against."
"Much of the legal landscape has changed in the 15 years since Congress passed the Defense of Marriage Act," Holder said in a statement. He also noted that the Supreme Court has ruled laws which criminalize homosexual conduct are unconstitutional.
According to Holder, the President has concluded that given a documented history of discrimination against gays, classifications based on sexual orientation should be subject to a more heightened standard of scrutiny than the department had been applying in legal challenges to the act up to now.
Obama is "grappling" with his personal view of gay marriage but has always personally opposed the Defense of Marriage Act as "unnecessary and unfair," according to spokesman Jay Carney.
"This is something that we're going to continue to debate, and I personally am going to continue to wrestle with going forward," Obama said.
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