Dear Mr. Dale:Thank you for contacting me regarding President Barack Obama’s decision to order the Department of Justice (DOJ) to discontinue defending the Defense of Marriage Act (P.L. 104—199). I appreciate having the benefit of your comments on this important matter.I strongly oppose President Obama’s decision to instruct the DOJ to stop defending the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act. The President has elected to make this ill-informed decision based on political motivation, rather than defending a statute that was passed by Congress, signed into law by previous Administrations, and broadly supported by the American people. I firmly believe that both President Obama and his Administration have an obligation to defend and uphold federal law, regardless of personal ideology, and you may be certain that I will continue to monitor this matter closely.As you may know, in 1996 Congress overwhelmingly passed—and former President Bill Clinton signed into law—the Defense of Marriage Act. This federal law defines marriage as “only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife”—I firmly support this position.Under the laws, traditions, and customs of all fifty states, marriage has historically been defined as the union of a man and a woman. However, judicial rulings—and outright lawlessness by local officials in some states—have threatened traditional marriage and moved this debate onto the national stage. The U.S. Supreme Court decision in Lawrence v. Texas provides lower courts with the leverage needed to invalidate traditional marriage laws. And the first major assault on traditional marriage came in Goodridge v. Mass. Dept. of Health, when the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court—citing the Lawrence decision—overturned that state’s traditional marriage law. Since this time, other activist state courts have followed Massachusetts’ lead. In light of these judicial trends, constitutional scholars on both sides of the aisle agree that the Defense of Marriage Act and similar state laws are now in peril. I believe that judges should strictly interpret the law and avoid the temptation to legislate from the bench or color their rulings with personal ideology.I appreciate the opportunity to represent Texans in the United States Senate. Thank you for taking the time to contact me.Sincerely,JOHN CORNYNUnited States Senator517 Hart Senate Office BuildingWashington, DC 20510Tel: (202) 224-2934Fax: (202) 228-2856
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