Protecting Marriage and the Rule of Law

Chuck Donovan /

The decision by the U.S. Navy to rescind new guidelines that would have permitted same-sex marriages to be performed in navy chapels in certain states is a simple recognition of the law of the land. The fact that the rescission came only after pressure from Members of Congress who wrote to the Defense Department on May 6 requesting the enforcement of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is a sober reminder that the Obama Administration continues to play fast and loose with this area of public policy. A quick review is in order.

On February 23, Attorney General Eric Holder wrote to the Speaker of the House that he had concluded, and President Obama concurred, that DOMA is unconstitutional under the equal protection component of the Fifth Amendment. As several commentators pointed out, this formal abandonment of DOMA in the federal courts came only after a series of actions by the Obama Justice Department that actively undermined the best arguments for DOMA in the pending federal lawsuits against it. Specifically, Justice Department attorneys disavowed the stated interest of Congress in passing DOMA to recognize the procreative purposes of marriage; DOJ also failed to cite prior U.S. Supreme Court precedents that turned aside the constitutional arguments against traditional marriage. (more…)