BY Christopher Mangum

October 26 2009 10:05 AM ET

U.S. attorney general Eric H. Holder Jr. told a University of Maine
crowd on Friday that the Obama administration will work to repeal
“don’t ask, don’t tell” and the Defense of Marriage Act.

“The president
has indicated that we will take the necessary steps to repeal both DOMA
and 'don’t ask, don’t tell,'” said Holder, according to the
university’s paper, The Maine Campus. “He’s quite sincere in his desire to do that. It will happen with the help of Congress.”

Holder also attempted to justify the two Department of Justice briefs released during the summer that defended DOMA, the law that prohibits the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages.

“Many people have been, I think, a bit flummoxed by what has been the mistaken intention of the president in the briefs that the Justice Department has filed in support of the Defense of Marriage Act," Holder said. "Though I fully support what the president has said, that is the repeal of 'don’t ask, don’t tell,' the repeal of DOMA, I have a responsibility as attorney general to support the statute.”

After delivering his lecture to a crowd of approximately 850, Holder was asked by reporters about his views on Question 1, the ballot measure Mainers will vote on November 3 to determine whether the new law legalizing gay marriages in the state will be repealed.

“[The president and I] are of the view it is for states to make these decisions; that federal law [DOMA] is not necessarily a good piece of legislation and we are going to work to repeal it,” Holder said, reports The Maine Campus.

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