On Wednesday, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Department of Justice would no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court. The administration believes that Section 3 of DOMA, which defines marriage as a union between “a man and a woman” and “spouse” as an opposite sex person, is unconstitutional. The importance of this message coming from the president can’t be overstated.
Recent rulings in circuit court cases have found Section 3 to be unconstitutional, as well. There are several cases making their way through the legal system that challenge the law's muster, in particular, whether Section 3 violates the constitutional right to due process.
Here’s a link to the GayObama Twitter account. Yeah, it’s real.
Holder’s announcement, though largely symbolic, is just one of many recent victories for LGBT equality.
Also on Wednesday, Hawaii Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed into law SB232 that will establish civil unions for same-sex couples. When the law goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2012, Hawaii will become the seventh state to recognize same-sex civil unions.
Maryland’s Senate passed a full marriage equality bill this week, as well. The state’s House will introduce a similar bill next week before committee.
According to MetroWeekly, Maryland’s Gov. Martin O’Malley has promised to sign marriage equality into law if it reaches his desk.
It wasn’t all good news this week, though. North Carolina and Indiana Republicans introduced state bans on same-sex marriage. Both pieces of legislation have a good chance of moving forward.
In what often feels like a drawn-out waiting game, past victories in the equality movement were often few and far between.
But it really does feel like the momentum has shifted in the last two years. This week is a great example.