The Defense of Marriage Act was signed into law in 1996. It prohibits federal recognition of same-sex marriage and declares that states do not have to recognize such marriages across state lines. Republicans and Democrats are often divided on the issue, while the rest of us are left asking: what's the government's role in marriage at all?
At its core, DOMA is a federal denial of rights to gay people that are enjoyed by straight people. At the time the legislation was drafted, a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers thought this made sense, Rep. Bob Barr sponsored DOMA and President Bill Clinton signed it into law.
Now, both Barr and Clinton favor its repeal.
As a legal matter, the recognition of marriage is not an enumerated power given to the federal government under our Constitution.
As a religious matter, marriage is a sacred commitment between two people and, if they have one, their God. Where does the state fit in to this commitment? It does not.
If two religious people declare their everlasting commitment to one another under the eyes of God, how does the County Clerk's approval make the commitment any more sacred? It does not. The notion that a religious ceremony needs government sanction is absurd and antiquated.
Too many of us argue about how the government should be involved in our personal lives, without even considering the proposition that the government has no place in our personal lives.