Defense of Marriage Act - Suddenly Unconstitutional?

The United States Justice Department has just announced today that it will no longer defend the federal law on marriage, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA),  in legal challanges, by order of the President, according to a New York Times article.  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/24/us/24marriage.html?_r=1&hp
In fact, the Justice Department sent this letter to Speaker Boehner by way of notice of these new events.http://whitehouse.blogs.cnn.com/2011/02/23/attorney-general-declares-doma-unconstitutional/.

This move is unprecedented - and impossible.  DOMA — the 1996 law voted on by Congress and signed into law by President Clinton - allows states to define marriage and not afford legal recognition to out of state same sex marriages, civil unions, nor domestic partnerships.  The Justice Department, however, is required to defend federal legislation when constitutionally challenged.  Such a law cannot be unilaterally disabled, and determined unconstitutional, but must be adjudicated to be unconstitutional only after an evidentiary showing and a judicial determination.  No legal challenge to date has held DOMA to be unconstitutional, and a President has no executive authority to do so.

This sudden move does not favor family restoration, but marriage deconstruction, and will not stand as authority in any way.

For more info see Obama Administration Will No Longer Defend Ban on Gay Marriage in Court.

[Thanks to the many contributors of this piece including Scott Lambert, Eric Welsh, and Myung Hee Park.]

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