Gay rights activists around the country cheered as the Obama administration announced today that it would no longer defend the "Defense of Marriage Act" otherwise known as DOMA. If you will remember, DOMA was a largely Republican-backed measure that declared a marriage to be solely between a man and a woman.
The President's decision means that if a pro gay marriage lawsuit wants to challenge DOMA, the U.S. government is not going to pay for lawyers to fight the challenge. The administration says it reviewed DOMA and believes it unconstitutionally discriminates against gays; Attorney General Eric Holder said that if Congress wishes to enforce the law, it may appoint its own lawyers to do so.
Interestingly, a number of Republican lawmakers took time out of slashing the rest of the budget to complain that the government should continue to fund any challenges to the conservative law and some even threatened not to fund challenges to the health care law the next time a Republican is in the White House. (Grow up, eh?)
In yet more encouraging news for gay rights today...
Hawaii's governor Neil Abercrombie signed a measure today making Hawaii the seventh state to recognize civil unions.