In recent weeks, there has been a lot of talk in the media concerning the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). DOMA was passed in 1996 by large majorities in both houses of Congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton. The reason DOMA became law was to protect states’ rights found in the 10th Amendment of the US Constitution. DOMA prevents any state that does not want a redefinition of traditional marriage -- an institution thousands of years old -- forced upon them. DOMA actually upholds each state’s right to self-determinism—or what is commonly called Federalism.
The information concerning DOMA’s purpose has been mostly suppressed by the mainstream media. Instead, DOMA has been characterized as an attack on the so-called “right to marriage.” Yet, the Constitution does not define a right to marriage, which is why marriage as a civil matter has always been a state issue. The only Constitutional role for the federal government to be involved in the marriage issue is to ensure the protection of liberty for religious people and the states.
Regardless of what we have been told, states’ rights are at the heart and soul of the DOMA law. No state should have to be forced to recognize a practice of another state against its will or the will of its citizens. That is why the Bill of Rights was written not long after the Constitution was ratified. The founding fathers knew that without a Bill of Rights to protect the nation’s people, the federal government would impose its will on the people quite easily.
Some on the political left have claimed that DOMA is an overreach of the federal government’s authority. It’s funny that these are some of the same people who claim that Obamacare and gun control are not an overreach of the federal government. What they are missing is the fact that a law or policy can only be an overreach of the federal government’s authority if it is outside of the framework of the Constitution. Obamacare and many policies thrust upon us by the Executive Orders of numerous presidents are certainly outside the framework of the Constitution. DOMA, on the other hand, is within the framework of the Constitution as Article IV, Section 1, of the U.S. Constitution, gives Congress the authority to regulate contracts between the states.