Obama's Legal View of DOMA a Mystery

By Kerry Eleveld

Originally published on Advocate.com July 29 2010 4:25 PM ET

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Thursday that President Barack Obama believes the Defense of Marriage Act “should be changed” but that he does not know whether the president believes the law is constitutional.

“I have not heard the president intone what he believes the constitutionality of the law is,” Gibbs said in response to a question from The Advocate. “I know that he believes the law should be changed.”

The entire exchange follows:

The Advocate: A growing number of people have started to call on the administration not to defend what the president refers to as the “so-called” Defense of Marriage Act — including Steve Hildebrand last week and the Human Rights Campaign, which is the largest LGBT community lobby and, quite frankly, it’s usually fairly favorable toward the administration, so it was a turnaround for them to call on the administration not to defend that law.

The president has called DOMA discriminatory. Does the president believe that a discriminatory law is constitutional?




Robert Gibbs: I don’t ... the president hasn’t to the best of my ... I have not heard the president intone what he believes the constitutionality of the law is. I know that he believes the law should be changed.

Legal decisions around next steps in that case, I believe, will be made at the Justice Department and I would point you over there to them.

Again, the president believes, in this case, and the president believes in the case of “don’t ask, don’t tell” that those are laws that he has believed for quite some time should be changed.