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LA Times: Obama Should Bring 'Passion' To DOMA Repeal

March 21, 2011 2:22 pm ET by Equality Matters staff

In a Sunday editorial, the Los Angeles Times urged President Obama to support the Respect for Marriage Act, which would repeal the entirety of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and recognize same-sex marriages performed in states that allow for them:

The conventional wisdom is that the Respect for Marriage Act can't succeed in Congress. Skeptics point to the fact that DOMA passed both the House and Senate by overwhelming margins, and was signed by a Democratic president, Bill Clinton. But 15 years have seen a breathtaking change in public attitudes toward gays and lesbians — and same-sex marriage. A recent Pew poll found that 45% of adults now support same-sex marriage, compared to 46% who oppose it. The same survey noted that opposition to same-sex marriage has declined by 19 percentage points since 1996, when 65% opposed it and only 27% supported it. As for DOMA, a poll this month by the Human Rights Campaign, a gay-rights organization, found that 51% of respondents opposed the law, while 34% supported it.

Even with those numbers, the Respect for Marriage Act faces resistance in Congress, which raises the issue of presidential leadership. President Obama attracted considerable attention when he decided not to defend the constitutionality of DOMA in federal court. He should bring the same passion for equality to the debate over the Respect for Marriage Act.