US Lawyers Reluctantly Defend Letter of Marriage Equality Ban

The Boston Globe
September 19, 2009
Justice Department lawyers are reluctantly defending a law that bars the federal government from honoring gay and lesbian couples' marriages, making their legal arguments in a Boston court while pointing out that the Obama administration opposes the law. [Link]

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Justice Department Brief Gingerly Opposes Challenge to DOMA This Time

ABC News - Political Punch
September 18, 2009
Jake Tapper on the Justice Department brief opposing the GLAD challenge to section 3 of DOMA: "Unlike the administration's previous filing in June -- which upset gays and lesbians by seeming to compare the illegitimacy of same sex couples to incestuous couples -- this filing states right off the bat that the president opposes DOMA because it is "discriminatory." [Link]

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Geoffrey R. Stone: Kennedy/Obama - Does The Dream Live On?

The Huffington Post
August 30, 2009
There is much talk now about carrying out the legacy of Ted Kennedy in championing civil rights - including LGBT causes. President Obama is well positioned to fulfill Kennedy's dream of equal rights regardless of sexual orientation, and now is the time - even with all the other problems the president is facing - to do it. [Link]

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The National Organization for Marriage to Fight Marriage Efforts in D.C.

The Washington Blade
August 21, 2009
NOM plans to use its projected $6 million 2009 budget to help ban marriage equality in the District of Columbia and prevent a repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act. Groups such as the Human Rights Campaign and Freedom to Marry argue that no valid research data can be found to back up NOM’s claims that marriage equality has or will in the future harm families or the institution of marriage. [Link]

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Still Waiting

The Economist
August 20, 2009
The Economist examines what some see as a discrepancy between the Justice Department's continued legal defense of the federal DOMA and its assertion that the Obama administration views the law as discriminatory. [Link]

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Time Magazine: Obama, the Marriage Equality Flip-Flopper

Time Magazine
August 19, 2009
John Cloud concurs with criticism of the Obama administration by many members of the LGBT community who feel the president's stance and action thus far on LGBT issues seem muddled and/or evasive. [Link]

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LGBT Leaders: Department of Justice Statement an Improvement

Bay Area Reporter
August 20, 2009
LGBT legal activists have applauded the DOJ's statement on Monday that the Obama administration does not support DOMA, even though they are disappointed the DOJ still suggests that DOMA is constitutional. "I hope we'll also see the White House work with leaders in Congress to repeal DOMA as soon as possible," said Evan Wolfson of Freedom to Marry, "but this brief is definitely a vast improvement over the last one." [Link]

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New DOMA Brief More LGBT-Friendly

The Advocate
August 17, 2009
The second Department of Justice brief filed yesterday in response to the Smelt v. United States lawsuit challenging the Defense of Marriage Act was not only much more palatable, but also made some historic concessions. The brief clearly states the president's position regarding DOMA: "With respect to the merits, this Administration does not support DOMA as a matter of policy, believes that it is discriminatory, and supports its repeal." [Link]

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ACLU: Federal Government’s Comments on DOMA Promising

August 17, 2009
The brief filed by the Justice Department in Smelt v. United States on Monday shows that the federal government heard and understood some of the concerns raised by the LGBT community in response to the brief it filed in June. [Link]

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Obama affirms DOMA is discriminatory, calls for repeal in legal brief

August 17, 2009

Following a furious outcry from the gay community, the Obama Administration is toning down its defense of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. President Barack Obama is also stepping out on the issue, issuing a written statement explaining his stance.

In a brief filed Monday morning in a lawsuit challenging the validity of DOMA, the Justice Department put on the record that the administration favors repeal of the statute — a position that was omitted from a controversial legal filing the department made in June. DOJ also explicitly rejected arguments put forward by conservative groups that the importance of marriage for child rearing is a legitimate justification for DOMA's ban on federal recognition of same-sex unions.

The brief states:
"The government does not contend that there are legitimate government interests in "creating a legal structure that promotes the raising of children by both of their biological parents" or that the government's interest in "responsible procreation" justifies Congress's decision to define marriage as a union between one man and one woman. ... Since DOMA was enacted, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Psychological Association, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the American Medical Association, and the Child Welfare League of America have issued policies opposing restrictions on lesbian and gay parenting because they concluded, based on numerous studies, that children raised by gay and lesbian parents are as likely to be well-adjusted as children raised by heterosexual parents. ... The United States does not believe that DOMA is rationally related to any legitimate government interests in procreation and child-rearing and is therefore not relying upon any such interests to defend DOMA's constitutionality"


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