Is the Defense of Marriage Act Constitutional?

The Justice Department will no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court.

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Attorney General Eric Holder recently announced that the Justice Department will no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court because it unconstitutionally discriminates. Advocates say the law is constitutional and reflects timeless realities of nature.
Edited by Robert Schlesinger


Tony Perkins
Former member of the Louisiana legislature and now president of the Family Research Council

In 1996 the federal Defense of Marriage Act was passed by large majorities in Congress and signed into law by President Clinton. It has two parts: One prevents states from being forced to recognize other states’ same-sex “marriages”; the other defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman...



Joe Solmonese
President of the Human Rights Campaign, which works toward lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender equality

As Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in his opinion in Lawrence v. Texas, which struck down state laws criminalizing intimate gay and lesbian relationships: “Times can blind us to certain truths and later generations can see that laws once thought necessary and proper in fact serve only to oppress.” The court...


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Corrected on 3/14/11: A previous version of this page incorrectly spelled Mr. Solmonese's name.