Obama Defends DOMA, Offers Comforting Words To Gays

President Obama hasn't changed his policy, but he is softening his tone. Today, the Department of Justice filed a response to a legal challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act for the second time since Obama took office.

When DOJ first did this, its brief was full of rhetoric that appeared to supporters to be over-the-top and anti-gay. The White House -- and the Justice Department -- seemed to have taken the criticisms to heart. Their challenge in this case defends the idea that the government must defend constitutional laws -- even wrong-headed ones, but notes that the Obama administration opposes the substance of the policy.

The White House issued a rare statement in the name of Obama himself and distributed it to gay rights groups:

"This brief makes clear, however, that my Administration believes that the Act is discriminatory and should be repealed by Congress.  I have long held that DOMA prevents LGBT couples from being granted equal rights and benefits.  While we work with Congress to repeal DOMA, my Administration will continue to examine and implement measures that will help extend rights and benefits to LGBT couples under existing law."