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Emma Ruby-Sachs

Emma Ruby-Sachs

Posted: June 5, 2009 12:34 PM

Obama's Law Professor Says DOMA Unconstitutional


2009-06-05-tribe_web.jpg

A campaign is underway to encourage the Department of Justice to refuse to defend the Defense of Marriage Act in the legal challenge launched by the Massachusetts based Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders.

On a grassroots level, individuals are sending bright pink postcards to Obama urging him to not "flip flop" on DOMA (the President committed to repealing DOMA during his campaign, but has since erased all mention of the repeal from the White House website).

Today, Laurence Tribe, the Harvard Constitutional law professor who hired Obama as a research assistant in his first year of law school, supported the claim that DOMA Section 3 is unconstitutional.

Professor Tribe told Paul Sousa, founder of Equal Rep:

"I certainly agree (a) that Section 3 of DOMA is unconstitutional, at least as applied to couples like those who are currently challenging it in federal court here in Massachusetts.... I'm not at all reluctant to have it known that I think the equality component of the Fifth Amendment's Due Process Clause forbids the federal government to deny same-sex spouses benefits identical to those that it would grant to opposite-sex spouses when the spouses are "married" under the law of their state -- that is, when the spouses were married and reside in states where the law forbids a distinction between same-sex and opposite-sex marriage and rejects the DOMA definition of 'marriage.'"

A legal memo supporting the Department of Justice's right to refuse to defend clearly unconstitutional laws can be found on the DOMA Flip Flop website.

The Department of Justice has until June 29th to decide whether to defend DOMA against the GLAD challenge.