Janet M. LaRue

President Obama, the self-proclaimed “constitutional scholar,” along with the nation’s top lawyer, Attorney General Eric Holder, announced Wednesday that they couldn’t come up with a “reasonable” argument for limiting marriage to a man and a woman as God, Congress, state legislatures, and the majority of voters intend.

Obama’s decision to stop defending the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman for purposes of federal law, is:

•a concession to his leftist base;

•a diversion from his economic and foreign policy disasters;

•a slap shot at Congress as a co-equal branch of government;

•telling Republicans they can’t walk and chew gum if they defend DOMA;

•what he meant by “fundamentally transforming the United States of America;” or

•all of the above.

Obama’s position on DOMA depends on whose political support he’s seeking. According to ABC News: When he began his campaign for U.S. Senate, he told a group called Independent Voters of Illinois -- Independent Precinct Organization that he supported DOMA. He then switched to an anti-DOMA. position on Feb. 11, 2004, as the March 2004 Illinois Democratic primary drew near. According to Obama’s staff, the Illinois Democrat changed positions mid-campaign because he heard from gay friends how hurtful DOMA was.

DOMA is “an abhorrent law,” Obama wrote in his letter posted on a Chicago gay and lesbian Web site on February 11, 2004. But he didn’t call God’s law “abhorrent” at Rick Warren’s “Saddleback Presidential Candidate’s Forum in 2008:

“I believe that marriage is the union between a man and a woman. Now, for me as a Christian -- for me -- for me as a Christian, it is also a sacred union. God's in the mix;” he told Warren when asked to define marriage.

Apparently, God is out of “the mix.” Obama is “grappling” with his personal position on marriage, according to White House Press Secretary Jay Carney at Wednesday’s press briefing.

Since Obama and Holder don’t like DOMA and don’t want to risk it being upheld if the courts apply the lowest level of constitutional review, called rational basis, they’re telling courts to make them defend DOMA under a heightened standard of review, which Holder won’t do because it’s too high of a hurdle.


Janet M. LaRue

Jan LaRue is Senior Legal Analyst with the American Civil Rights Union; former Chief Counsel at Concerned for Women; Legal Studies Director at Family Research Council; and Senior Counsel for the National Law Center for Children and Families. Be the first to read Janet LaRue's column. Sign up today and receive Townhall.com delivered each morning to your inbox.


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