DOMA Change May Affect Personal Finances

Up until Wednesday, the Obama administration had backed the constitutionality of a law that banned the recognition of same-sex marriage. On Wednesday, the administration announced that it would no longer oppose legal objections to the Defense of Marriage Act because, according to the administration, the Act discriminates against homosexuals and is no longer reasonable.

Attorney General Eric Holder stated that the Obama administration could not defend the law that explicitly defines marriage as being between one man and one woman. The Attorney General stated that the discussion of the Act included several expressions of moral disapproval towards homosexuals and their family relationships. He said that the Equal Protection Clause is designed to protect people from exactly that kind of stereotyping.

If the Obama administration succeeds in turning the minds of the Supreme Court to vote in favor of debunking the Defense of Marriage Act, all government agencies, including the IRS, must honor same-sex marriage. Couples in same-sex marriages would receive the same tax benefits as traditional married couples. Partners in same sex marriages may also be eligible for other benefits now afforded to traditional marriages such as social security, Medicaid, pension, life insurance, health insurance.

Despite the change in position, Holder stated that he would continue to uphold the Defense of Marriage Act until a final judgment is made, probably by the Supreme Court.

This new position on marriage has been hailed as a turning point in the fight for equality by Jon Davidson, who is the legal director for Lambda Legal, a gay rights group in L.A. The executive director of the Williams Institute at UCLA, Brad Sears, stated that the decision will make nearly all forms of discrimination based on sexual orientation unconstitutional.

According to American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), they are preparing briefs in defense of marriage and of the rule of the law as well as communicating with members of Congress concerning the Act. They are calling the announcement an overstep of constitutional authority.

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