Washington, D.C. – House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today criticized the decision by a federal district court judge in Boston to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).  In 1996, the DOMA was passed with bipartisan support in Congress and signed into law by then-President Bill Clinton.

Ranking Member Smith: “Today’s decision by a Massachusetts court to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act defies the will of the American people and directly contradicts the spirit of democracy that is government by the people and for the people.  Nearly 15 years ago, following an outcry by the American people, Congress passed a law affirming the definition of marriage as a union between one man and one woman. 

“In doing so, Congress simply affirmed the definition of marriage that predates our Nation and every other nation throughout history.  To date, more than half the States in the U.S. have codified in their Constitutions the legal definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. 

“The vast majority of the American people believe that the preservation of marriage between a man and a woman is critical to our success as a nation and in the best interest of American families.  It is not the role of the courts to redefine that institution and impose it on American society.  The people alone-through their elected representatives-have that role and responsibility.

“The Justice Department’s half-hearted defense in this case-exemplified by DOJ’s own attorney asserting that President Obama opposes DOMA-is unacceptable.  The President’s personal views have nothing to do with the defense of a law passed by Congress.  The Justice Department has a responsibility to appeal this decision and defend the laws passed by Congress on behalf of the American people.”