Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Obama Administration Shifts Stance on DOMA

Although this is not sports related, it is still huge news in the family law field.   DOMA is the Defense of Marriage Act passed by a Republican Congress during the Bush Administration.    Basically, it defines marriage as only between a man and a woman.    Naturally there were court challenges to this under States Rights' and Equal Protection Provisions.   The cases started under the Bush administration.   However since sometimes justice is a long slow process, they are still making through way through various appellate courts. 

The Obama Administration, as the branch of government charged with enforcing laws continued the Bush Administration policy of defending the law against all challenges in court.   The new stance announced today means the defense in court will end.*   Without any opposition, the challenges in court will win by default.   This effectively means, by my interpretation that DOMA is dead.   The courts may require a response, but then the Administration can just provide a response that says "we cannot offer a non-frivolous argument."   Since the court really frowns on making frivolous arguments, they will love an attorney who refuses to make one.   Of course, this is speculation on my part as to how this will play out.  

In the sport world, whether or not DOMA survives will not make a darn bit of difference.   As far as I know there are no openly gay athletes in the 4 major sports I focus this blog on:   NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL.    If there are openly gay athletes in other sports, I would love to hear about it.   But, until athletes feel comfortable and safe being out, whether or not gays can marry will not affect their family law issues.  

*Until formally repealed by Congress or declared unconstitutional by the courts, the Executive Branch agencies will continue to enforce the law.   Yes, that's confusing I know.   The Administration is saying it will enforce a law it feels is unconstitutional.    Has a bit of a feel of trying to have it both ways to it. 

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