STATEMENT: John Podesta on DOJ’s Decision to Stop Defending DOMA in Federal Court

Washington, D.C. – Today, John D. Podesta, President and CEO of the Center for American Progress, released the following statement applauding the Obama administration’s decision to stop defending the so-called Defense of Marriage Act in federal court:

“DOMA is a discriminatory law that targets gay men and women simply because of their sexual orientation. It serves no purpose but to advance discrimination. DOMA should be repealed, and if Congress fails to do so, I hope to see it struck down by the courts in the months ahead.

Federal law requires the attorney general to inform Congress of its intent not to defend the law. Unfortunately, antigay leaders in Congress will likely take up DOMA’s defense. We urge them to think twice about this decision and to not tether themselves to a patently discriminatory law that undermines our nation’s fundamental principle of equality.

We thank President Obama and Attorney General Holder for their leadership on this issue, and their commitment to equality for all Americans.”

DOMA prevents the federal government from recognizing the marriages of legally married same-sex couples and denies them any federal benefits related to marriage. With this announcement, the Department of Justice will cease to actively defend DOMA in several federal court cases challenging the law. Also, future federal cases involving sexual orientation discrimination will be reviewed under the highest level of scrutiny possible.