Massachusetts Senator John Kerry has
applauded President Barack Obama's decision to no longer defend the
Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in court.
Facing a March 11 deadline to respond
to two legal challenges to the 1996 law that bans federal agencies
from recognizing the legal marriages of gay and lesbian couples,
on Wednesday directed the Department of Justice to end its defense of
“DOMA was unconstitutional in 1996,
and it's unconstitutional today, and the Obama Administration made
the right call to no longer defend it in the courts,” Kerry said in
“The Defense of Marriage Act has
never been about defending marriage. It's been nothing more than an
unconstitutional effort to deny same-sex couples basic rights and
protections,” he added.
Both of the cases challenging DOMA were
filed in Kerry's home state of Massachusetts, the first state to
legalize gay marriage in 2005.
House Speaker John Boehner, a
Republican from Ohio, on the other hand, called
the decision bad timing.
“While Americans want Washington to
focus on creating jobs and cutting spending the president will have
to explain why he thinks now is the appropriate time to stir up a
controversial issue that sharply divides the nation,” said Boehner
Spokesman Michael Steel.