Obama Stance On Marriage Act Viewed As Turning Point For Gay Rights

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)—The Obama Administration’s filing of a brief saying the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional is being viewed as a turning point for gay rights.

The brief against the DOMA – which defines marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman – was filed in the case of a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals lawyer who is suing the government after her wife was denied health insurance coverage.

KCBS’ Susan Kennedy Reports:

John Lewis with Marriage Equality U.S. said it’s a significant development.

“This is an example of the President of The United States standing up for all loving committed couples,” Lewis said.

Stephen Valdeck, a law professor at the American University Washington College of Law, said the administration has claimed that the 1996 law serves “no purpose other than to discriminate against gays and the standard of rational basis isn’t enough.”

Valdeck argued, “If the administration believes that you need a higher level of scrutiny for DOMA, then they should also follow that you need a similarly high level of scrutiny for Proposition 8, or any other state law that discriminated based on sexual orientation when it comes to marriage and benefits.”

The administration had previously said it would no longer defend DOMA in court.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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