Herrera hails President Obama’s recognition of DOMA as ‘unconstitutional’

City Attorney Dennis Herrera today hailed President Barack Obama’s decision to ask the Department of Justice to stop defending the Defense of Marriage Act. According to Attorney General Eric Holder, “…the President has concluded that given a number of factors, including a documented history of discrimination, classifications based on sexual orientation should be subject to a more heightened standard of scrutiny. The President has also concluded that Section 3 of DOMA, as applied to legally married same-sex couples, fails to meet that standard and is therefore unconstitutional. Given that conclusion, the President has instructed the Department not to defend the statute in such cases.”

In response, City Attorney Herrera issued the following statement:

“The Administration’s decision to stop defending DOMA is a courageous and historical act, and an encouraging sign that we will eventually achieve equality for all.

The federal court has defined marriage as “the most important relation in life,” and “of fundamental importance for all individuals.” I am hopeful that today’s development will positively impact our federal challenge to Proposition 8 and restore every individual’s fundamental right to marry in California.”

City Attorney Dennis Herrera has been at the forefront of the legal battle for marriage equality in California. His office was the first government entity in American history ever to sue to invalidate discriminatory marriage laws, and it is the only law office to be involved as a party in every aspect of the legal fight since 2004 — from defending Mayor Gavin Newsom’s issuance of same-sex marriage licenses; to successfully suing to strike down the anti-gay marriage exclusion in the state courts; to challenging the discriminatory Proposition 8 in the California Supreme Court, and now as co-plaintiff in the federal courts.