President Obama has no plans to pursue a formal repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act in Congress, the White House said Thursday.
After a Boston-based federal appeals court ruled the 1996 federal law against same-sex marriage unconstitutional Thursday morning, White House spokesman Jay Carney was asked whether the president plans to push the Senate to hold a vote this year on a measure to repeal the law.
“Well, I haven’t heard that discussed,” Mr. Carney said. “The president’s position is clear. The actions taken as a result of that position are clear. Participation of the Department of Justice in the specific litigation is clear. But I don’t have anything for you on that proposal, which I have not heard.”
The Boston court’s decision, as well as other legal challenges to DOMA and state laws such as California’s Proposition 8 sprouting up across the nation, is putting more pressure on the Supreme Court to weigh in.
Last year, the Obama administration abandoned the legal defense of DOMA, arguing that it is unconstitutional.
Mr. Carney also shot down a question on whether the president would issue an executive order prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation among federal contractors after ExxonMobil shareholders voted down non-discrimination protections for its more than 80,000 workers Wednesday.
ExxonMobil has received more than $1 billion in federal contracts over the course of the last decade.
“We don’t expect that an [executive order] of that nature will be issued at this time,” Mr. Carney said. “We believe that the legislative avenue here is the right avenue to pursue at this time.”
When asked why the president is still hoping Congress will take up the issue when Republicans control the House and would inevitably block it, Mr. Carney was abrupt.
“Well, because it’s the right thing to do,” he said before quickly taking the next question.