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August, 17th 2009

Obama administration: DOMA is unfair and we don't like it but hey, we'll defend it because it's probably constitutional

– Liz Mair

That is the essence of what the Obama administration currently has to say on DOMA, at least if you believe what is reported today in this AP piece: "Obama administration says marriage law unfair."  Excerpt:

The Obama administration filed court papers Monday claiming a federal marriage law discriminates against gays, even as government lawyers continued to defend it.

Justice Department lawyers are seeking to dismiss a suit brought by a gay California couple challenging the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act. The administration's response to the case has angered gay activists who see it as backtracking on campaign promises made by Barack Obama last year.

In court papers, the administration said it supports repeal of the law.

Yet the same filing says the Justice Department will defend the statute in this case because a reasonable argument can be made that the law is constitutional.

My gut says that John Aravosis, who has been very critical of the administration on DOMA (yay for non-cheerleaders with spines, even those I disagree with a good 60% of the time), has a point when he writes "the only reason this is 'good' is because of how 'bad' they did on the previous brief." 

Certainly, this doesn't feel very "change-ey."  It actually kind of feels like a slightly Clintonite maneuver, albeit one that would presumably only take place post 1990's, since, well, the Clintonite maneuver back then was giving a thumbs-up to DOMA in the first place.  It also feels really... lame, quite frankly. [intro]

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