The decision affects two suits in Massachusetts— Gill et. al. v. Office of Personnel Management and Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. United States Department of Health and Human Services. In both cases, the plaintiffs questioned the constitutionality of the definition of marriage being reserved to a legal union between a man and a woman. To add “insult to injury” in presenting the president’s action, Holder told House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) that Congress’ action in passing DOMA implies “moral disapproval of gays and lesbians and their intimate and family relationships.” Further, Holder added that this kind of “stereotypical-based [sic] thinking and animus” is exactly why the Equal Protection Clause exists.
In the past, President Obama has not acted on his rhetorical support for the repeal of DOMA, a stance that was unpopular with his liberal base. Now, like the activist liberal judges, he is totally ignoring the damage to the standing of the courts by defying the will of the people regarding the nature of marriage (voters booted three Iowa State Supreme Court justices out of office in 2010 for tampering with the definition of marriage). In many respects, the president's action is a full-employment act for self-identified homosexual lawyers, because the law is still on the books and the president just took the Justice Department attorneys off the case.
There is reason to conclude that the president acted now, before the 2012 election and while he has federal Supreme Court justices who will back his opinion on the issue of so-called same-sex “marriage,” because the unrest both nationally (Wisconsin and Indiana) and internationally (Egypt and Libya) will take the media headlines and he can “get away with” the decision no longer to defend DOMA in court because it will be “below the fold” in the nation’s newspapers.
While the president’s action does not mean that DOMA is illegal, it does mean that the president has decided to trade in his claim to be post-partisan in order to become a general in the culture war’s assault on traditional values. Also, at a time when the nation is buried under a mountain of debt and deficits are at oxygen-depriving heights, this decision begs the action of “following the money.” At stake are numerous (some say thousands) of benefits that are limited to married couples. The government has a vested interest in encouraging marriage and the establishment of families to protect and nurture children and, thus, provide for the nation’s future. It does not have a similar vested interest in encouraging same-sex sexual relationships which are high-risk, dysfunctional, and entail consequences that, ultimately, are a drain on both the national treasury and the nation’s social infrastructure.
While the president should be working to reverse unemployment and curb spending, he is, instead, working to give short-term same-sex alliances the dignity of the “marriage” label, thus entitling those in temporary same-sex sexual relationships to taxpayer funding.