Saturday, February 23, 2013

Obama administration finally calls for demise of DOMA

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Same-sex marriage

It’s been a long time coming, but at last, the Obama administration is calling for the Supreme Court to put an end to institutionalized anti-gay discrimination under the Defense of Marriage Act:

Arguing that Section 3 of DOMA, which forbids federal recognition of same-sex marriage, violates the Constitution, Solicitor General Donald Verrilli writes that DOMA also deserves heightened scrutiny because of the history of discrimination faced by gays and lesbians.

"Section 3 of DOMA violates the fundamental constitutional guarantee of equal protection," the brief reads. "The law denies to tens of thousands of same-sex couples who are legally married under state law an array of important federal benefits that are available to legally married opposite-sex couples. Because this discrimination cannot be justified as substantially furthering any important governmental interest, Section 3 is unconstitutional."

The brief also slaps down the Republican DOMA defense’s claims about how the federal gay marriage ban supposedly works to protect children from some vague homosexual threat. Because that canard has served them so well in court this far, hasn’t it?

For all its (many and serious) faults, LGBT rights is one domain the Obama administration has generally been quite excellent in, though it does have a tendency to drag its feet for no good or clear reason at times. But from killing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” to the President’s (personal) endorsement of same-sex marriage, it’s been nothing but hit after hit lately, for which they certainly deserve kudos.

(via @BuzzFeedAndrew)