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Today in legal history...

Thursday, February 23, 2012

DOJ stopped defending federal law barring same-sex marriage
Katherine Bacher at 12:00 AM ET

On February 23, 2011, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that it would no longer defend the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Specifically, the DOJ said that it would cease to legally defend Section 3 of the Act, which defines marriage as a legal union between a man and a woman. Although Attorney General Eric Holder claimed that the move was in response to litigation in the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, the Obama administration reaffirmed its support for repealing DOMA in October 2011. In the state arena, the recent US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruling that California's ban on same-sex marriage violates the US Constitution has deepened the legal controversy over gay rights, especially in the wake of the official repeal of the military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT) policy in September 2011.

Read comprehensive coverage on the continuing legal controversy over Same-Sex Marriage in Features.

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