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Marriage wars in a different arena

March 16, 2011 |  2:11 pm

Several members of Congress -- including California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein -- have introduced legislation to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. The  Obama administration made news recently when it said it wouldn't defend DOMA, as it's known, against court challenges. (The law defines marriage for federal purposes as the union of one man and one woman and says that states are not obliged to recognize same-sex marriages from other states.)

But lawsuits over DOMA would be moot if Congress enacted the Respect for Marriage Act (a clever title). And we'd all be spared whining  by conservatives about "unelected judges" deciding social policy.

Winning enactment of the Respect for Marriage Act might seem a quixotic effort, but the same could be said a few years ago about the repeal by Congress of "don't ask, don't tell." I wouldn't rule out judicial action on this subject, but it's encouraging that activists are pressing their case with the legislative branch of government.

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--Michael McGough

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