December 5, 2019
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NOW Calls on Obama to Withdraw DOMA Brief and Renounce Discriminatory Law




June 16, 2009

The National Organization for Women calls on President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder to withdraw the U.S. Department of Justice brief filed in support of the Federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and to publicly renounce this discriminatory law. The brief was reportedly written by Bush administration holdovers, and if that is the case, this administration must immediately make it clear that President Obama does not support this position.

Under DOMA, same-sex couples who wed in states where their marriages are legal are still denied federal marriage benefits, and other states may refuse to recognize their unions.

"President Obama ran on a Democratic Platform that specifically said: 'We oppose the Defense of Marriage Act and all attempts to use this issue to divide us,'" said NOW President Kim Gandy. "This brief is indeed divisive, and the administration must disavow it immediately."

The government motion filed in Smelt v. United States of America states that the federal branch may discriminate against same-sex couples because all 50 states sanction the "traditional and universally-recognized form of marriage" and that DOMA is "a cautious policy of federal neutrality towards a new form of marriage"

"Neutrality is not what DOMA is about," said Gandy. "This law flat-out favors one form of legal marriage over another. The Obama administration has no business treating a discriminatory law as neutral, and should instead be working with Congress to develop legislation repealing this harmful law. The Bush years are over -- we expect much better from our new president."


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