Monday, August 17, 2009

Administration Criticizes but Defends DOMA

The Justice Department filed papers today in federal court in California in the case of Smelt and Hammer v. US (SACV09-00286 DOC) that stated a belief that the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is discriminatory, while at the same time arguing in support of dismissal of a case that challenges it. In a reply memorandum in support of the defendant's motion to dismiss, Assistant Attorney General Tony West argued, "With respect to the merits, this Administration does not support DOMA as a matter of policy, believes that it is discriminatory, and supports its repeal. Consistent with the rule of law, however, the Department of Justice has long followed the practice of defending federal statutes as long as reasonable arguments can be made in support of their constitutionality, even if the Department disagrees with a particular statute as a policy matter, as it does here." More information on the topic is available at Law About Same-Sex Marriage.