Good news: Attorney General Eric Holder announced last week that the Justice Department will no longer defend Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, the part that defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Holder said that the executive would continue to enforce the law until it is repealed by legislators, or overturned by the courts. Two federal court challenges to DOMA are already underway.
“After careful consideration, including a review of my recommendation, the president has concluded that given a number of factors, including a documented history of discrimination, classifications based on sexual orientation should be subject to a more heightened standard of scrutiny,” Holder said in a statement. [Politico]
The Justice Department is not flouting the rule of law, as some critics have suggested. It is merely declining to dig itself a deeper hole in defense of an unconstitutional and discriminatory law.
Even Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) isn’t sure whether he wants to defend DOMA. Boehner said Sunday that he hasn’t decided whether the House will appoint a special counsel to defend the law. He said he’ll probably decide by the end of the week. Boehner probably will move to defend the law, but he didn’t exactly jump at the chance.