Better DOMA defense to come

Charlie Butts
2/24/2011 4:30:00 AM

marriageThough the Obama administration announced yesterday that it will no longer defend the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), one research fellow sees the “silver lining.”

The Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) says the executive branch of the government has upped the ante by refusing to show up in the existing court cases, which is ultimately a disappointment to most Americans. (Listen to audio report)

“The Department of Justice has a constitutional duty to defend the laws duly enacted by Congress,” notes ADF attorney Austin R. Nimocks. “And the refusal of the attorney general to defend the federal Defense of Marriage Act just because they don’t like it politically is really inexcusable.”

Austin NimocksHe suggests that U.S. citizens are the ones who will ultimately suffer the pitfalls of the administration’s decision, as they expect the government to do its job and support traditional marriage, which is widely endorsed.

“Americans across this country — from north to south, east to west, red states and blue states — when they have voiced their opinions on marriage, [they] have been unified that marriage is between one man and one woman,” Nimocks reports. “And for the Department of Justice to make a political decision to throw marriage under the bus the way they are should really upset a lot of Americans.”

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And Chuck Donovan, senior research fellow at The Heritage Foundation, says the government’s decision to abandon the federal law is outrageous because it is now understood that the administration’s defense of DOMA in court has only been a pretense.

“The silver lining, though, is that now, we’re going to get away from this farce of a representation we’ve had out of the Obama Justice Department,” Donovan suggests. That means “we’ll have a clear attempt…by others in Congress to interject the congressional view and defend marriage.”

Charlie (Chuck) Donovan (Heritage)The Department of Justice has already told one federal court that DOMA is unconstitutional, while maintaining in another case that the government could make a defense, even though the agency believes the law is unconstitutional.

“It’s embarrassing for the administration to have it play out this way,” the research fellow decides. “It looks very political. But actually, there’s a chance that DOMA will now get a much better defense.”

He further concludes that Obama was merely helping repeal the law before deciding yesterday to step out of the way. Now, “at least the mask is off.” So Christian legal organizations, including the Alliance Defense Fund, may have the chance to intervene on behalf of Congress and better defend traditional marriage.

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