DOMA is indefensible

Obama is right to stop defending the unconstitutional marriage law.

Daily Editorial Board

President Barack Obama ordered the Justice Department to stop defending the Defense of Marriage Act in court last Wednesday, correctly calling the act unconstitutional.

And DOMA is, in fact, clearly unconstitutional. It defines marriage for federal purposes as the union of a man and a woman and says that no state can be required to recognize a same-sex marriage performed in another state.

The section defining marriage was found unconstitutional by a federal district court in 2010 on the grounds that it violates the provision of the Fifth Amendment which guarantees due process and equal protection under the law. A companion ruling also found that it violates the 10th Amendment, which reserves rights not delegated to the federal government to the states.

Furthermore, allowing states not to recognize gay marriages certified in other states is a clear violation of the Full Faith and Credit clause of the Constitution. This clause demands that “full faith and credit shall be given in each state to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state.” DOMA clearly violates the Constitution, and Obama is right to stop defending a law that institutionalizes discrimination.

Until now, Obama has been somewhat cowardly on the issue of gay rights. He rarely speaks out on the issue and still states that he opposes same-sex marriage, although his attitude is supposedly “evolv[ing].” The only major victory for gay rights during ObamaâÄôs presidency âÄî the repeal of DonâÄôt Ask DonâÄôt Tell âÄî was more CongressâÄô doing than his own.

We hope this decision is a signal that Obama is ready to show some courage and take a stronger stand for gay rights.