WASHINGTON -- The Department of Justice sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) today stating that the Defense and Veterans Affairs departments would not be defending the government's laws preventing equal treatment for servicemembers who have same-sex spouses, a decision confirmed by Metro Weekly that was first reported by Talking Points Memo's Ryan Reilly.
A White House spokesman tells Metro Weekly the decision is "consistent" with President Obama's determination, made a year ago, that the federal definition of marriage in the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional.
The move by Attorney General Eric Holder comes in the context of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network's lawsuit in McLaughlin v. Panetta, which asserts that several statutes impacting such benefits are unconstitutional themselves or are unconstitutional as interpreted in light of DOMA. Metro Weekly reported on Thursday, Feb. 16, that the parties to the case had agreed a day earlier to a 60-day delay in the government's deadline for filing a response to the lawsuit.
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