Gay Marriage NY Arguments Put US Lawyer on Defense
1 By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
2 Published: September 27, 2012 at 3:55 PM ET
NEW YORK (AP) — A federal appeals court panel forced a Justice Department lawyer into an awkward position Thursday, making him explain the government's decision to abandon defending the Defense of Marriage Act as judges decide the fate of a law destined for the U.S. Supreme Court.
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"In my day, when you won, you didn't appeal," a smiling Chief Judge Dennis Jacobs of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals told Acting Assistant Attorney General Stuart Delery after Delery rose from his seat near lawyers defending the law even as he seemed to speak out against it.
Later, Judge Chester Straub demanded to know why the government quit defending the constitutionality of a 1996 law that defines marriage as involving a man and a woman after having spoken in favor of it for nearly 15 years.
Delery said the switch came in early 2011 at the direction of President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder after the administration reviewed the law and concluded that it deserved a stricter view of what constituted discrimination than the legal reasoning that had previously been applied.
Months from now, the 2nd Circuit is expected to rule whether Manhattan Judge Barbara Jones was right when she found the law unconstitutional in June, just like several other federal judges and a federal appeals court in Boston have done.
Repeatedly, Delery spoke about discrimination in America against people over their sexual choices.
"Gay and lesbian people have been subjected to a long history of discrimination that continues to this day," he said.
He called the expression of sexual orientation "an integral part of human freedom."...