find the latest legal job
Corporate and Commercial Partner
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: Adelaide SA 5000
· Full time · Join a leading Adelaide commercial law firm
View details
In-house Legal Counsel & Commercial Lawyers
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Sydney NSW
· Providing lawyers with flexibility and control over when they work, how they work and who they work for.
View details
In-house Legal Counsel & Commercial Lawyers
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· Providing lawyers with flexibility and control over when they work, how they work and who they work for.
View details
Legal Inhouse / Lawyer / Company Secretary
Category: Other | Location: Brisbane QLD 4000
· Fantastic Company · Potential to be Part Time / Flexible Work Pattern
View details
Infrastructure Lawyer/SA
Category: Construction Law | Location: Sydney CBD, Inner West & Eastern Suburbs Sydney NSW
· Global elite law firm · Dedicated Infrastructure team
View details
Gay rights put first in Obama's legal policy shift

Gay rights put first in Obama's legal policy shift

US president Obama took a major legal policy shift today as he directed the country's justice department to stop defending the Defense of Marriage Act.

IN a major legal policy shift, United States president Obama has directed the Justice Department to stop defending the Defense of Marriage Act - the 1996 law that bans federal recognition of same-sex marriages - against lawsuits challenging them as unconstitutional. 


The Justice Department will now take the position in court that the act should be struck down as a violation of same-sex couples' rights to equal protection under the law, the New York Times reports today. 


Attorney General Eric H Holder Jr sent a letter to Congress on Wednesday that says both he and the president have decided that classifications based on sexual orientation "warrant heightened scrutiny and that, as applied to same-sex couples legal married under state law", an important provision of the act is unconstitutional. 


Legal scholars in the US said the government's new position could have implications for the rights of gays and lesbians that extend beyond the Marriage Act. 


The NY Times quotes Tobias B. Wolff, a law professor at the University of Pennsylvania, who advised the Obama campaign not he gay rights issues, who said: "It's a monumentally important decision."


“The Justice Department and the president have taken the position on behalf of the United States government that discrimination against gay and lesbian people in all cases is presumptively unconstitutional,” he told The NY Times. 


This is the first time the United States government has ever embraced that position. Wolff said that if the courts agree, "it will help to eradicate all of the various forms of discrimination that gay and lesbian people suffer around the country".


The president has long opposed the Defense of Marriage Act, and has instead favoured civil unions over gay marriage.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Gay rights put first in Obama's legal policy shift
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Nov 24 2017
Demand lifts in 2017/18 for short-term finance to cover crises
Promoted by NWC Finance. The first five months of the 2017-18 financial year have seen unpreceden...
LCA welcomes religious freedom panel
Nov 24 2017
LCA welcomes religious freedom panel
The Law Council of Australia says the establishment of a panel which will examine the human right to...
Law Society launched a new website, legal politics and lawmaking
Nov 24 2017
Law Society launches project to engage young Aussies
The Law Society of NSW has launched a new website to engage young Australians in legal politics and ...
APPOINTMENTS
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
opinion
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
Help
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...