HRC Blog

Joe Solmonese Takes on DOMA Against Tony Perkins on USnews

Joe SolmonesePost submitted by Michael Cole-Schwartz, Former HRC Director of Communications

US News & World Report yesterday published two pieces on DOMA’s constitutionality (or lack thereof)… one from HRC’s President Joe Solmonese and the other from the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins.

Both are available at

Here’s a sampling of what Joe wrote in “The Defense of Marriage Act Is Unconstitutional Discrimination“:

As Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in his opinion in Lawrence v. Texas, which struck down state laws criminalizing intimate gay and lesbian relationships: “Times can blind us to certain truths and later generations can see that laws once thought necessary and proper in fact serve only to oppress.” The court had upheld such laws just 17 years earlier. Our Constitution didn’t change in those 17 years; our nation’s understanding of gay people (and sexual orientation itself) did.

Yet, many laws remain that serve only to oppress lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. The Defense of Marriage Act is one such law. It limits federal recognition of marriage to unions between a man and a woman and permits states to refuse to recognize marriages between same-sex couples from other jurisdictions. As the attorney general wrote in informing Congress that the Justice Department would no longer defend in court the constitutionality of the law’s federal recognition portion, it is unconstitutional both because of what it does to same-sex couples and the reasons the government has given for doing it.

The Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection is there to protect against the stereotyping and hostility that the Defense of Marriage Act represents. Denying federal recognition to legal marriages does not strengthen opposite-sex couples and only serves to mark same-sex couples with a state-sanctioned imprimatur of second-class citizenship.

Read the entire piece on the US News & World Report website.

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