The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
Contact: Mai Shiozaki, 202-628-8669, ext. 116; cell 202-641-1906

NOW Calls on Obama to Withdraw DOMA Brief and Renounce Discriminatory Law


The National Organization for Women calls on President Barack Obama
and Attorney General Eric Holder to withdraw the U.S. Department of
Justice brief filed in support of the Federal Defense of Marriage Act
(DOMA) and to publicly renounce this discriminatory law. The brief was
reportedly written by Bush administration holdovers, and if that is the
case, this administration must immediately make it clear that President
Obama does not support this position.

Under DOMA, same-sex couples who wed in states where their marriages
are legal are still denied federal marriage benefits, and other states
may refuse to recognize their unions.

"President Obama ran on a Democratic Platform that specifically
said: 'We oppose the Defense of Marriage Act and all attempts to use
this issue to divide us,'" said NOW President Kim Gandy. "This brief is
indeed divisive, and the administration must disavow it immediately."

The government motion filed in Smelt v. United States of
America states that the federal branch may discriminate against
same-sex couples because all 50 states sanction the "traditional and
universally-recognized form of marriage" and that DOMA is "a cautious
policy of federal neutrality towards a new form of marriage"

"Neutrality is not what DOMA is about," said Gandy. "This
law flat-out favors one form of legal marriage over another. The Obama
administration has no business treating a discriminatory law as
neutral, and should instead be working with Congress to develop
legislation repealing this harmful law. The Bush years are over -- we
expect much better from our new president."

The National Organization for Women (NOW) is the largest organization of feminist activists in the United States. NOW has 500,000 contributing members and 550 chapters in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.