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Likely USSC v. Obama Showdown

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World — Obama administration reversal over the Defense of Marriage Act adds weight to a likely Supreme Court showdown over the law in the high court’s next term.

In the noisy days after the Supreme Court issued its healthcare decision, the Obama administration filed two cases with the high court challenging the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The July 3 filings gained little attention but they, coupled with disagreement about DOMA among lower courts, mean the Supreme Court is almost certain to take at least one case on marriage this fall. The high court may also hear arguments on California’s Proposition 8, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman. The cases could establish whether federal courts begin to treat homosexuality as a status more like race or gender.

“We’ll know a lot more about the landscape of marriage by next June,” said Paul Linton, a lawyer with the Thomas More Society who has been involved in various DOMA cases.

The Supreme Court filings were another chapter in the Obama administration’s dramatic reversal on the marriage law. The Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman for federal purposes, passed Congress in 1996 with massive bipartisan majorities. President Bill Clinton signed it into law. For the first two years of President Barack Obama’s term, his Justice Department defended the law in court and in consequence took heat from homosexual activists. Obama explained that even though he found DOMA “abhorrent,” his administration had a “duty to uphold existing law.”

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