Washington: The US government has decided that it will no longer defend a law defining marriage as only between a man and a woman, as per an official report. “The US government has finally declared the law "unconstitutional," Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement. Agency inputs
Upon considering "a documented history of discrimination" over sexual orientation, Obama said his Justice Department can no longer defend the key part of the 1996 Act that has
excluded gay marriages being recognized on the federal level.
Obama argued that classification based on sexual orientation should be viewed through a "more heightened standard of scrutiny," and there is no longer a "rational basis" for discrimination against same-sex couples.
Key Republican Lamar Smith, who heads the House Judiciary Committee, slammed the decision as”politicization" of the Justice Department and an "irresponsible" move.
"It is a transparent attempt to shirk the department's duty to defend the laws passed by Congress," Smith said in a statement, adding that the "Justice Department has a responsibility to defend the laws passed by Congress regardless of the personal political views of the President or
the Attorney General."
Maggie Gallagher, leader of the National Organization for Marriage and a vocal opponent of same-sex marriage, also criticized the administration's announcement in a media interview, describing it as "an extraordinary unconstitutional measure."
Sexual orientation, said Holder in his letter to Boehner, "carries no visible badge, (but) a growing scientific consensus accepts that sexual orientation is a characteristic that is immutable."
The administration used this argument to decide it can no longer support what it sees as discrimination in DOMA's definition of marriage, and in doing so put homosexuality in
the same protected class as race, gender and disability.
But Gallagher, who has previously insisted that approval of same-sex marriage "means losing American civilization," slammed the use of discrimination as a frame for the decision.
Obama has "unilaterally declared that gay is like black," she complained.
Leading gay advocacy group Human Rights Campaign (HRC), meanwhile, hailed Obama's "monumental decision," which they said would benefit same-sex couples and their families "who want nothing more than the same rights and dignity afforded to other married couples."
Washington: The US government has decided that it will no longer defend a law defining marriage as only between a man and a woman, as per an official report.
“The US government has finally declared the law "unconstitutional," Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement.