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Biggest Flip Flop in Presidential History? Obama Instructs DOJ to Stop Defending DOMA

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Official presidential portrait of Barack Obama...

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Today president Obama, in what’s being described as on of the biggest reversals or flip-flops in presidential history, ordered the Department of Justice to stop defending the Defense of Marriage Act.

President Obama has instructed the Justice Department to stop defending the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, which has since 1996 allowed states to refuse to recognize same-sex partnerships legally recognized in other states.

The announcement was made in a letter from Attorney General Eric Holder to congressional leaders in relation to two lawsuits, Pedersen v. OPM and Windsor v. United States, which challenge a section of DOMA that defines marriage for federal purposes as only between one man and one woman.

President Obama believes that section – Section 3 — “is unconstitutional” given the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment (including its equal protection component), Holder wrote, and the president has instructed the Department of Justice to no longer defend the law in those two lawsuits.

President Obama “has made the determination,” Holder wrote, that Section 3 “as applied to same-sex couples who are legally married under state law, violates the equal protection component of the Fifth Amendment.”

During the 2008, Obama strongly supported marriage as being between a man and a woman:

Here are the reactions from pro-family leaders:

Maggie Gallagher, Chairman, National Organization of Marriage: “On the one hand this is a truly shocking extra-constitutional power grab in declaring gay people are a protected class, and it’s also a defection of duty on the part of the President Obama.  On the other hand, the Obama administration was throwing this case in court anyway.  The good news is this now clears the way for the House to intervene and to get lawyers in the court room who actually want to defend the law, and not please their powerful political special interests.”

Penny Nance, CEO, Concerned Women for America: “This tyrannical decision by President Obama is perhaps his most shameful move yet.  DOMA is the law of the land, whether he personally likes it or not.  For him to circumvent the will of the American people, once again, to impose his latest personal fad into federal law is simply disgraceful.  Remember, just a few months ago he tried to sell the American public the idea that he supported the traditional definition of marriage, then a few weeks ago he said he “struggled” with the idea, and now the mask finally comes off. He believes DOMA is unconstitutional and we are all supposed to go along with it.  President Obama insults the majority of Americans who believe marriage is the union between one man and one woman.  Americans should not stand for this.  Congress should step in and demand that DOJ do its job and defend federal law.  We simply cannot allow the Executive Branch in the person of the President or Attorney General to circumvent federal law purely on the basis of a president’s personal preference.”

Brian Brown, president, National Organization of Marriage: “The Democrats are responding to their election loss with a series of extraordinary, extra-constitutional end runs around democracy, whether it’s fleeing the state in Wisconsin and Indiana to prevent a vote, or unilaterally declaring homosexuals a protected class under our Constitution, as Pres. Obama just did,” said Brown. “We call on the House to intervene to protect DOMA, and to tell the Obama administration they have to respect the limits on their power. This fight is not over, it has only begun!”

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