Shift on Gay-Marriage Law Will Affect Array of Policies

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February 25, 2011

"The Obama administration's decision to no longer back the Defense of Marriage Act won't immediately enable married gay couples to receive federal benefits, but is already shaping battles in the courts and in Congress that could affect a range of government policies.

"...The move 'will have a very significant impact because it is easier for the courts to say "we think this law is unconstitutional" if another branch is already saying that,' said Jon Davidson, the legal director of Lambda Legal, one of the groups that has challenged the law in court.

"He pointed to an order issued Thursday by U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White in the Northern District of California in a case about granting health benefits to the gay spouse of a federal worker in California, a state that briefly allowed gay marriage in 2008."