Hochzeitstorte mit Herzen und Rosen vor Kuchenbuffet in Deutschland / Claus AbleiterIn a development which arguably has been a long time coming, the Obama administration has finally decided it will not defend the Defense of Marriage Act, passed in 1996. The New York Times reports on this announcement (WebCite cached article):

President Obama, in a striking legal and political shift, has determined that the Defense of Marriage Act — the 1996 law that bars federal recognition of same-sex marriages — is unconstitutional, and has directed the Justice Department to stop defending the law in court, the administration said Wednesday.

The announcement was not made in person, and not by the president, as the Times explains:

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. announced the decision in a letter to members of Congress. In it, he said the administration was taking the extraordinary step of refusing to defend the law, despite having done so during Mr. Obama’s first two years in the White House.

“The president and I have concluded that classifications based on sexual orientation” should be subjected to a strict legal test intended to block unfair discrimination, Mr. Holder wrote. As a result, he said, a crucial provision of the Defense of Marriage Act “is unconstitutional.”

The Religious Right, of course, is not happy about this:

“It is a transparent attempt to shirk the department’s duty to defend the laws passed by Congress,” Representative Lamar Smith, the Texas Republican who is chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said in a statement. “This is the real politicization of the Justice Department — when the personal views of the president override the government’s duty to defend the law of the land.”

I’m not sure any Republican has any kind of moral standing to complain about the “politicization of the Justice Department,” given what the Bush Jr administration had done with it. Fucking hypocrites.

At any rate, this bodes well for my home state of Connecticut, which has permitted gay marriage since the Kerrigan v. Commissioner of Public Health decision was handed down by the state Supreme Court in late 2008.

All I can say is, good riddance to this law. The idea that marriage is something that needs to be “defended” is logically absurd. Marriage is something that people willingly enter into. Their ability to do so need not be “defended,” since they can do so whenever they wish. The idea that allowing gay marriage somehow prevents heterosexual couples from marrying, is likewise absurd. It does no such thing!

Lastly, the Religious Right’s assertion that, according to Judeo-Christian principles, marriage can ONLY be between one man and one woman, is factually incorrect, as I’ve blogged previously. There have been several different kinds of marriage during the history of the Abrahamic faiths; there is no “one” definition of it.

It’s time for the Right — which, especially during the Obama administration, has argued that government meddles too frequently in people’s lives — to put its money where its mouth is, and stop getting in the way of gay couples marrying, if they wish to. Freedom is a good thing; we should have more of it, not less.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons / Claus Ableiter.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Comments are closed.