A reader writes:
Perhaps Obama's DOMA move is an attempt to drive a wedge between the Cultural-Right, which favors anything that bans or delegitimizes same-sex marriage, and the Federalist-Right, which could see Section 3 as denying state sovereignty. Section 2 says, in essence, no one can tell states to recognize SSM if they don't want to. Section 3 says, for you liberal states that do want to, the Federal Government won't recognize your decision. Section 2 is federalist; Section 3 is anti-federalist.
While Hirschman suggests that the trap Obama has set is for congressional Republicans, it seems perhaps even savvier than this. Namely, he may be taking aim at the potential GOP presidential field.
He has just introduced DOMA as a concrete issue that the Republican primary must take up. With the threat of its repeal more imminent than ever, Obama may be calculating that it will be a live issue for Republicans in their debates. This means that any otherwise reasonable looking Republican, and one with more of an emphasis on fiscal conservatism instead of social, must come out swinging for the crazies. This, in turn, may make it harder for them in a general, when they have to appeal to independents and young adults.
Reading Link’s post (and thinking back to Boehner’s comments about timing), I had an epiphany: what if the administration is abandoning DOMA, specifically Section 3, to allow court proceedings to get underway in advance of the impending implementation of DADT repeal? If Section 3 is standing when openly gay men and women can serve, would military spouses in same-sex marriage states be denied standing under DOMA? In the end Obama might be doing traditional marriage advocates a favor - nobody could stand for the monstrous injustice that might come from the first widowed spouse of an openly gay soldier.