In a bold, 360-degree turn-around, President Obama—who has never publicly supported federal laws legalizing gay marriage—said he will no longer defend the constitutionality of the 15-year-old Defense of Marriage Act, which excludes same-sex couples from wedding.
Attorney General Eric Holder acknowledged that the White House recognizes that DOMA contains language "reflecting moral disapproval of gays and lesbians and their intimate and family relationships, precisely the kind of stereotype-based thinking" the Constitution is designed to guard against.
Obama’s stance is in line with the majority of Americans: An AP poll last August found that 52% believe in legal recognition of gay marriage. A similar ABC News/Washington Post poll found support for legalizing gay marriage climbed from 37% in 2003 to 47% in February 2010.
Holder added, “The legal landscape has changed since Congress passed” DOMA. He noted the Supreme Court has ruled against laws criminalizing homosexual conduct, while Congress recently repealed the military's moronic "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy and overturned California’s reckless Proposition 8.
While the Justice Department has defended DOMA in court, Obama realized it targets minority groups with a history of discrimination. Holder said the prez has concluded that, given documented discrimination against gays, more scrutiny should be applied to legal challenges. Throughout the George W. Bush presidency, gays and lesbians were repeatedly swept aside as second-class citizens, denied the constitutional protection afforded to racial minorities and to women.
At a December news conference, Obama admitted that his position on gay marriage is "constantly evolving." He has supported civil unions—which offer no federal protection or the legal rights of straight married couples.
Obviously, that’s simply no longer enough in a modern society. There’s a word for it: progress.