Defense of Marriage Act Unconstitutional?
President Barack Obama recently ordered the Justice Department to stop defending the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as only between a man and woman. “Classifications based on sexual orientation should be subject to a more heightened standard of scrutiny," said Attorney General Eric Holder, and the key provisions in the law "fails to meet that standard and is therefore unconstitutional." Do you agree with the administration that the act is unconstitutional (why or why not), and what, if any, implications may this have for religious liberty?
Arguing against same-sex marriage in a legal manner in the courts is very difficult, as seen in the Proposition 8 Federal trial in California where opponents of the ban presented 8 witnesses and the proponents presented only 2, both of whom had previously publicly stated arguments in opposition to their testimony on the stand. Further, and more importantly, bans on same-sex marriage are difficult to defend without sucking other rights into the vortex.
When discussing the recent news that the White House and the Justice Department will no longer be defending the Defense of Marriage Act, we might ask ourselves if our reaction would be any different if they made that announcement regarding Roe v. Wade. In some ways these are the twin opposites on legislative morality.
Set aside your ideas about marriage, just for the moment, if it is even possible to avoid emotional responses to a discussion of the legal issues swirling around marriage. Regardless of your views about whether marriage should be restricted to a man and a woman, or should include same-sex couples, the announcement by the Justice Department that it will no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is a genuinely frightening development.