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Department of Justice Will No Longer Defend DOMA

The DOJ will no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act, which gives the federal government the right not to recognize the marriages of same-sex couples.

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Remember that piece of paper called the Constitution with that little section called the Bill of Rights that’s supposed to ensure that all Americans are treated equally under the law? Well, the Obama administration signaled this week that same-sex married couples are entitled to the same protections guaranteed in the Constitution such as Social Security benefits, joint taxes, and health insurance coverage as their heterosexual counterparts.

In an extraordinary shift in policy this week, the president announced the Department of Justice will no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA. Under DOMA, which was passed in 1996, the federal government has the right not to recognize the marriages of same-sex couples.

Some say, “Big deal. Gays can still get married somewhere.” And yes, gays and lesbians are currently allowed to be married in 5 out of 50 states in the union as well as the District of Columbia. But this means the gay and lesbian community is subjected to a patchwork of protections and vulnerabilities that heterosexual families don’t have to face.

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