Statement on a Massachusetts federal court ruling that found the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional.
On July 8, 2010, a federal district court in Massachusetts struck down a law that protects marriage. In Gill v OPM, the court found that a law that limits marriage to a man and a woman, in this case the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), does not have a rational basis. In reaching this conclusion, the court held that there is no “legitimate government interest” in limiting marriage to a man and a woman.
DOMA was passed by overwhelming majorities in both houses of Congress (85-14 in the Senate and 342-67 in the House) and signed into law by President Clinton. We continue to support the law and other legal avenues for the protection of marriage.
Thirty of the 50 states have adopted constitutional amendments defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. This understanding of marriage is solidly based on natural law, social science, moral reasoning, and custom.
Whenever the American people have been given the opportunity to vote on the issue, they have endorsed amendments and laws that define marriage of a man and a woman by comfortable margins, most recently in Maine last November.
Such overwhelming public support reflects a broad consensus in America in support of our traditional understanding of marriage, which Congress properly sought to protect in passing DOMA.