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EDITORIAL: President abandons marriage

Obama divorces from morality, law and history

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The Obama administration announced yesterday that it will not defend the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). This is the next step of President Obama's strategy to force the radical homosexual agenda on America against the will of the people and Congress.

At issue is Section 3 of DOMA, which stipulates that any mention of "marriage" in federal law should be interpreted to refer only to "a legal union between one man and one woman." No legal provision could be more basic. As the administration itself noted in a Jan. 20 brief in a different DOMA case, this definition of marriage "is derived from that of 'the standard law dictionary,' which itself was derived from historical definitions in state case law."

DOMA was passed by elected representatives of the people and signed into law by President Clinton; the public has the right for their laws to be defended by the executive branch. This administration refuses. "The Obama administration has been sabotaging DOMA litigation from the outset," according to Ed Whelan of the Ethics and Public Policy Center. "Today's action at least has the modest virtue of bringing that sabotage out into the open."

Shannen Coffin, former deputy assistant attorney general for the Civil Division, told The Washington Times that administrations frequently defend laws they disagree with, and that it's a "cardinal principle" that a president "has an obligation" to do so unless no reasonable argument can be made in favor of the law's constitutionality. Eleven circuit courts already have ruled that Mr. Obama is wrong. The White House's decision on DOMA, Mr. Coffin said, is "politics dressed up as constitutional law."

Mr. Coffin cautions that a president has the duty to exercise independent judgment in rare instances in which he believes a law is "obviously" unconstitutional. As subjective as such a judgment might be, defending traditional marriage doesn't fall in that category under any circumstances. The unambiguous revelation this week is how radically removed Mr. Obama is from American public opinion, U.S. constitutional tradition and the mainstream of human history.

The Republican-led House of Representatives has an opportunity - and an obligation -to provide legal defense for this law Mr. Obama has abandoned. In a country based on the rule of law, government can't be allowed to ignore the law.

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