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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Nullifying the Defense of Marriage Act

hThe Obama Administration will essentially nullify the will of Congress by refusing to defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court against legal challenge. 

The Act was passed in 1996, and defines marriage as being between a man and a woman.

This nullification-through-default threatens a constitutional crisis. The Administration sets a precedent by which it can circumvent, or outright ignore, the will of Congress.

While some have constitutional concerns about the Act, this law is not recently-enacted legislation, but a 15-year-old law for which more than ample time has passed for it to be challenged in court and evaluated by courts at all levels. In addition, the Obama Administration just had two years, during which it controlled both houses of Congress, in which it could have sought its amendment or repeal -- but chose not to do so.

It is one matter for Congress to need sufficient support to override a presidential veto. It is quite another for it to overcome executive branch nullification through default.

Eric Dixon is a New York lawyer, political advisor and strategic analyst. He can be reached at

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