According to a press release from the Department of Justice, President Obama has instructed the Department of Justice not to defend Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act. From the release by Attorney General Eric Holder:
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.
This is huge news, and impacts the ACLU’s case on behalf of Edie Windsor, whose marriage and inheritance rights were not recognized by the government after her wife and partner of 44 years passed away in 2009. There’s a terrific video about Edie and her wife Thea and their case, which I highly recommend. It’s embedded below.