DOMA (Nearly) DOA
Some good news from the White House:
In a major reversal, the Obama administration has notified Congress that it will no longer defend the federal law that says marriage can exist only between a man and a woman.
Attorney General Eric Holder says he has recommended, and the president has agreed, that the law unconstitutionally discriminates against same-sex couples who are legally married but whose status is not recognized by the federal government.
"Given a number of factors, including a documented history of discrimination," Holder wrote in a statement, the administration has concluded that classifications based on sexual orientation must be subject to a higher constitutional standard than ordinary laws. And the federal Defense of Marriage Act does not meet that test, he says.
The law is still in effect, but probably lost whatever chance it had of surviving a legal challenge. You can read Holder's letter here.
It is a misguided attempt to define for all time an institution that is constantly, if slowly, evolving. Its supporters may think they can stop social evolution in its tracks and enforce a singular vision of the good society. But such people misunderstand the very nature of a free society and its dependence on choice and change. The Defense of Marriage Act may well have put off state recognition of same-sex marriage for the time being, but such laws can do precious little to keep things as they are. There can be little doubt that, ultimately, the government will be following IBM's lead, even as IBM has followed its employees'.