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LGBT Equality: A week to remember

What a week.

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.

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Update: Obama won’t defend law banning federal recognition of gay marriage

The Obama administration made a blockbuster announcement Wednesday, saying it has concluded that one part of the Defense of Marriage Act will not be able to pass constitutional muster in the 2nd Circuit and that DOJ would not defend that part of the law in two pending cases in that circuit.

It was a dramatic, unexpected, and significant move by the Obama administration and one that could trigger maneuvers by DOMA supporters to appoint an intervenor to defend the law. But beyond the eventual legal consequences of the announcement, the political impact was characterized by most LGBT leaders as historic and monumental.

“This is a monumental turning point in the history of the quest for equality for lesbian, gay and bisexual people,” said Jon Davidson, legal director for Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund.