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WaPo Editorial on DOMA

March 22, 2009

The Washington Post had an editorial yesterday addressing the inherent discrimination against gay couples caused by the Defense of Marriage Act.

NANCY GILL, a 21-year veteran of the U.S. Postal Service,was barred from insuring her spouse under the federal employee health plan. Randell Lewis-Kendell was denied a $255 lump-sum Social Security payment when his spouse of 30 years died in 2007. Keith Toney was told he could not change his name on his passport to reflect his marriage.

Ms. Gill and Mr. Lewis-Kendell and Mr. Toney each married same-sex partners in Massachusetts and continue to live in the state, which has legally sanctioned such unions since 2004. But they were denied federal spousal benefits because Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) defines marriage as the legal union of one man and one woman…

…President Obama is on record opposing DOMA. Although the Justice Department typically defends acts of Congress in court, Mr. Obama should ask his legal advisers to determine whether they, like the plaintiffs, believe DOMA as applied in this case is unconstitutional. If so, Mr. Obama should consider whether this is one of those rare instances where the Justice Department declines to defend a law.

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