Emory Law Journal


Simon P. Hansen


When the Obama Administration announced it would cease defending the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in litigation, it demonstrated the increasing fluidity inherent in the Executive Branch custom of defending federal statutes. After three years of setting aside its opposition to DOMA, the Administration adopted a newfound interpretation of DOMA's Section Three and abruptly abandoned its defense. While the House Bipartisan Leadership Advisory Group eventually undertook the law's defense, it met obstacles in finding a litigant on its behalf. Partisan opposition to the Advisory Group's decision to defend DOMA and a prominent U.S. law firm withdrawing its representation jeopardized the law's defense.