Today is July 4th, the day Americans celebrate liberty and justice for all – and our nation continually make strides towards that promise. Just two days after speaking with a gay friend of mine over Twitter about Anderson Cooper coming out, I received this tweet from him, "did you see what the AG did today putting DOMA closer to SCOTUS?". That's tweet talk for, The Attorney General requested that the Supreme Court take up its challenge to Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act via lower courts' actions.” A ruling in favor of the Administration's position could lift the ban on federal benefits to gay couples.
The announcement is another of many pro-LGBT policy shifts of the past 2 years. In 2011, the AG and President Obama concluded that section 3 of DOMA (defining marriage as one man, one woman) was unconstitutional and said the Justice Department would no longer defend it in court.
Read the DOJ's statement below the jump:
“After careful consideration, including a review of my recommendation, 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,” he said. “The President has also concluded that Section 3 of DOMA, as applied to legally married same-sex couples, fails to meet that standard and is therefore unconstitutional. Given that conclusion, the President has instructed the Department not to defend the statute in such cases. I fully concur with the President's determination.”
Months later Obama announced the repeal of the “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” policy of the US armed forces. And, this year President Obama expressed his public support for marriage equality. Twice already DOMA has been ruled unconstitutional by lower courts and Attorney General Eric Holder wants the Supreme Court make a final ruling. Until that time, which could come as early as next summer, Obama has instructed federal agencies to continue to comply with the current law. Speaker Boehner has appealed the lower court's decision and has also requested the Supreme Court take up the case.
Special thanks to Golden Triangle GLBT.