The Obama administration on Saturday reiterated that it believes the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional and fueled by prejudice.

DOMA is the 1996 law which forbids federal agencies from recognizing the legal marriages of gay and lesbian couples.

Last year, President Obama instructed the Department of Justice to no longer defend the law in court.

Speaking Saturday at the White House LGBT Conference on Families at Burroughs Community School in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Stuart F. Delery, acting assistant attorney general for the civil division of the Justice Department, discussed the department's reasons for the change.

“The president and the attorney general concluded that laws that treat people differently based on their sexual orientation, like laws that make classifications based on gender or race, are inherently suspect – and therefore must meet a higher burden to be found valid,” Delery said.

“There is no question that DOMA targets same-sex couples and treats people differently based on their sexual orientation – that it was motivated in significant part by prejudice towards, moral disapproval of, and stereotype-based thinking about, gay and lesbian people and their intimate and family relationships.”

“One justification that Congress gave for Section 3 back in 1996 was that it would promote procreation and 'responsible child rearing.'”

“But there is no evidence that same-sex couples are anything other than fully capable of responsible parenting and child rearing,” he said.

Delery added that the president supports efforts to repeal the law. However, passage of the Respect for Marriage Act in the Republican-controlled House seems unlikely.