Washington Post (Jonathan Capehart): A well-placed and trusted source tells me that, any minute now, Attorney General Eric Holder will issue a statement announcing that it will no longer defend so-called Defense of Marriage Act lawsuits in court. The source believes DOJ had come to the conclusion that heightened scrutiny would apply, and that these cases cannot be defended in court. A 530d letter has been sent to Congress informing it that, if it wants to defend the statute, it is free to do so. A case is pending now that has a filing deadline of March 11.
This is huge, folks. By definitively stating that gay men and lesbians deserve heightened scrutiny, the Obama administration is declaring that there is no government interest in perpetuating the discrimination aggrieved parties are trying to redress.
The Attorney General made the following statement today about the Department’s course of action in two lawsuits, Pedersen v. OPM and Windsor v. United States, challenging Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage for federal purposes as only between a man and a woman:
In the two years since this Administration took office, the Department of Justice has defended Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act on several occasions in federal court … After careful consideration, including a review of my recommendation, the President has concluded that given a number of factors, including a documented history of discrimination, classifications based on sexual orientation should be subject to a more heightened standard of scrutiny. The President has also concluded that Section 3 of DOMA, as applied to legally married same-sex couples, fails to meet that standard and is therefore unconstitutional. Given that conclusion, the President has instructed the Department not to defend the statute in such cases. I fully concur with the President’s determination.
Thank you Hachikō! This is a seriously BFD!