The Heritage Foundation

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February 23, 2011

February 23, 2011 | News Releases on

Heritage: ‘Real Defense’ of Marriage Begins Now

Washington, D.C., Feb. 23, 2011—The Heritage Foundation released the following statement by Charles A. Donovan, senior research fellow, on today’s news that President Obama has ordered the Justice Department to abandon the Defense of Marriage Act, which Congress passed 15 years ago to prevent the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriage. Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder said the 1996 law is unconstitutional.

Donovan, who researches and writes about marriage and family issues in the think tank’s DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society, said:

“After a series of steps that undermined the legal case for the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the Obama administration has apparently decided to drop its mask and publicly switch sides. This action raises the stakes in this litigation even higher, because both portions of DOMA – the federal definition of marriage as the union of a man and a woman as well as the authority of Congress under Article 4 of the Constitution to interpret the Full Faith and Credit Clause to allow states to protect similar definitions – are now at heightened risk.

“Regrettable as it is that the Justice Department went all the way to a federal appeals court with the pretense that it was effectively conducting this litigation, this burst of candor is an opportunity for a real defense to begin. We now count on the federal courts not to stand in the way of allowing the most able and committed attorneys to represent the interest of Congress and all Americans in ensuring a strong defense of DOMA against this unwarranted legal and political attack.”

Detailed analysis of the administration’s decision from Heritage’s Legal and Judicial Studies Center will be posted on the think tank’s Foundry blog.

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