Lambda Legal Applauds DOJ Announcement that it Will No Longer Defend "Defense of Marriage Act"

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"Discriminating against people on the basis of sexual orientation should be presumed to be unconstitutional and unconstitutional laws should not be defended."

Date

Date: 
02/23/2011
Jon W. Davidson

"It is past time for DOMA to become only an ugly part of our nation’s history."

Update: Lambda Legal case is the first to feel the effects of the shift in Justice Department policy. Read more.

(New York, February 23, 2011) — After the Department of Justice announced that it will no longer defend the so-called "Defense of Marriage Act" in court, Lambda Legal issued the following statement from Legal Director Jon Davidson:

"This is a monumental turning point in the history of the quest for equality for lesbian, gay and bisexual people. The President and the Attorney General recognized today what we have been saying in court since the day we opened our doors: Discriminating against people on the basis of sexual orientation should be presumed to be unconstitutional and unconstitutional laws should not be defended. It is past time for DOMA to become only an ugly part of our nation's history.

"We are proud of our part in the precedent setting cases leading to today's announcement. Both Romer v. Evans and Lawrence v. Texas are landmark U.S. Supreme Court cases litigated by Lambda Legal that established among other things that the equal protection guarantee in the federal Constitution applies to gay people. The Attorney General expressly relied on these cases in his letter to Congress explaining why laws discriminating against people based on their sexual orientation are suspect and that the so-called DOMA is unconstitutional.

"While the so-called DOMA is very clearly crumbling it is not yet gone. The executive branch will continue to enforce it until it is repealed by Congress or struck down by the courts. We will continue our efforts to dismantle this law, along with all other laws that discriminate based on sexual orientation. Today's action by the President and the Department of Justice hastens the day when those laws will no longer stain our nation."

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Contact Info

Contact: Lisa Hardaway; 212-809-8585 x 266; lhardaway@lambdalegal.org

Lambda Legal is a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work.