Holder Said He Recommended Changing DOMA Policy
By Andrew Ramonas | March 1, 2022 6:54 pm

Attorney General Eric Holder on Tuesday pushed back against Republican concerns about the Barack Obama administration’s decision to stop defending in court a 1996 law that limits the definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

Speaking at House Appropriations Commerce, Justice and science subcommittee hearing, Holder said the decision not to defend the Defense of Marriage Act was appropriate and made at his recommendation. He said the legal landscape on gay rights has changed since 1996, with the repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy and Supreme Court decisions against the criminalization of homosexual actions.

“It was not a decision that I took lightly,” Holder said. “We take very seriously our responsibility to defend statutes that Congress has passed.”

Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.), the subcommittee chairman, said the decision wasn’t appropriate.

“When an administration makes a determination that a duly enacted, overwhelmingly supported statute … is unconstitutional, Congress has a reason to be concerned about it,” Wolf said.

Holder came before the subcommittee to testify about the DOJ’s $28.2 billion fiscal 2012 budget request. This was the first time the Attorney General appeared before a House panel since Republicans took control of the House in January.


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