Obama: DOMA Issue Settled ‘Fairly Soon’


During a round-table session called “Open for Questions with President Obama” on Wednesday President Obama said that the courts represent the best chance of overturning the Defense of Marriage Act and, with a case in federal court right now, the issue will be settled “fairly soon.”

This response came after Gabriel Lerner, senior news editor for AOL Latino, asked what the Obama administration is doing to help bi-national same-sex couples who currently face being separated because DOMA restrictions mean that American citizens cannot sponsor their foreign born partners.

Here’s a transcript of the exchange:

MR. LERNER: Mr. President, on the Defense of Marriage Act, also called DOMA, this comes from Kevin in North Carolina.  He says:  I’m a gay American who fell in love with a foreigner.  As you know, due to DOMA, I’m not permitted to sponsor my foreign-born partner for residency.  And as a result, we are stuck between a rock and an impossible situation.  How do you intend to fix this?  Waiting for DOMA to be repealed or struck down in the courts will potentially take years.  What do binational couples do in the meantime?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, we made a decision that was a very significant decision, based on my assessment of the Constitution, that this administration would not defend DOMA in the federal courts.  It’s not going to be years before this issue is settled. This is going to be settled fairly soon, because right now we have cases pending in the federal courts.

Administratively, we can’t ignore the law.  DOMA is still on the books.  What we have said is even as we enforce it, we don’t support it, we think it’s unconstitutional.  The position that my administration has taken I think will have a significant influence on the court as it examines the constitutionality of this law.  And once that law is struck down — and I don’t know what the ruling will be — then addressing these binational issues could flow from that decision, potentially.

I can’t comment on where the case is going to go.  I can only say what I believe, and that is that DOMA doesn’t make sense; it’s unfair; I don’t think that it meets the demands of our Constitution.  And in the meantime, if — I’ve already said that I’m also supportive of Congress repealing DOMA on it’s own and not waiting for the courts.  The likelihood of us being able to get the votes in the House of Representatives for DOMA repeal are very low at this point so, truthfully, the recourse to the courts is probably going to be the best approach.

This is an excerpt of a transcript of the entire session provided on the White House website, which you can find here.

This comes after Democratic House lawmakers again sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner urging that he allow a briefing on his court defense of Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). You can read more about that here.

Related Reading:

Leukemia Took My Partner & Now DOMA Will Take My Home (VIDEO)

Despite DADT Repeal, No Spousal Benefits for Gay Soldiers

Stephen Colbert: It Gets Better! (VIDEO)

Photo by Chuck Kennedy The Official White House Photostream on Flickr.


Dennis Deal
Past Member 5 years ago

I believe this one is not so much as a promise as forecast.

President Obama has certainly kept many of his promises..
There is ten pages worth of promises that he has kept. Not bad with the Party of No entrenched in the House.

Tom Pearce
Tom Pearce5 years ago

Yep! Obama hasn't kept his promise! I hear a lot of that on this post, but if you were to stop and think about what your writing, you wouldn't be so quick to blame Mr. Obama! Since 2010, everything he had tried to do has been stopped by the GOP for what ever excuse they can come up with. No Obama hasn't accomplished what he wanted, but if you don't have the support of congress then your screwed! The President can only do so much alone! Since the GOP got control of the house, nothing has been accomplished! Even is you think Obama hasn't done what he said, surly you don't see anyone in the GOP that is going to accomplish those things you want! Stop complaining and figure out what you want. DOMA isn't going to be repealed by a Republican! Dream on!

Dawid Blyth
David B6 years ago

Keep your DOMA and reject Obama!

ROLF P6 years ago


Dolores M.
Dolores M6 years ago

Maurice C. and any others that are for either the Dem or Rep. You need to get your blinders off and get rid of both parties. These 2 relics of government have done nothing for the people, only lined their own pockets. IT"S TIME FOR NEW BLOOD IN GOVERNMENT. Vote for the other parties. Many of you complain that our government doesn't care about the environment, then vote for the GREEN PARTY. Make a change, Obama certainly didn't keep his promise. Why would he....he's a politician and a lawyer. Vote independent if you want. THE CHANGE IS REALLY UP TO US!!!

Dan(iel) M.
Dan(iel) M6 years ago

Yet another "promise" from our President !!!!!!

I'll believe it when DOMA is no longer a law.

Jamie Clemons
Jamie Clemons6 years ago

Fairly soon? as in never? Obama keeps talking big, but is nothing more than just another war monger president who wouldn't know change if it bit him on the butt.

Maurice Simoens
Maurice Simoens6 years ago

vote all repb out and send them home,give senate back to democrats

Fred Krohn
Fred Krohn6 years ago

For me it's already settled. Disease of Marriage Act is an unconstitutional fraud perpetrated by Komrad Klinton during his ACORN invasion of the Whitehouse. It should be ripped out retroactively. I vote 3rd party.

paul c.
paul c6 years ago

Billie C., respectfully, YOU may not be against marriage equality, but if you vote Republican, you are empowering a party that fiercely opposes equality. In fact, House Republicans are using our tax money to mount their own defense of DOMA. If you don't support that, the Republican party does not deserve your vote or your financial support.