President Obama has urged lawmakers to repeal the ’96 Defense of Marriage Act. But now his administration, for the first time, may be required to take a definitive stand on questions like whether gays have been unfairly stigmatized, are politically powerful, and can choose to change their sexual orientation.
Two new federal lawsuits will test his commitment. “Now they are being asked what they think the law should be, and not merely how to apply the law as it exists,” said Michael Dorf, a Cornell University law professor. “There is much less room to hide for that decision.” James Esseks, an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer helping with one case, said the new suits could be game-changing.
“I have a whole bunch of really smart lawyers who are looking at a whole range of options,” Mr. Obama said, referring to finding a way to end the Defense of Marriage Act. “I’m always looking for a way to get it done, if possible, through our elected representatives. That may not be possible.”