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An Introduction to Constitutional Law » United States v. Windsor

An introduction to Constitutional Law 100 Supreme Court cases everyone should know

Randy E. Barnett & Josh Blackman

The federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) addressed this problem. Section 3 of the law provided a single federal definition of marriage: one man and one woman. Under DOMA, it did not matter where the couple was married, or where they lived. DOMA was enacted with broad bipartisan support in 1996, four months after Romer v. Evans was decided. President Clinton signed DOMA into law shortly before the 1996 presidential election.

In United States v. Windsor, the Supreme Court considered the constitutionality of Section 3 of DOMA. The Obama administration concluded that the pro- vision was unconstitutional, and declined to defend it. As a result, the House of Representatives intervened in the litigation to defend DOMA. The House was represented by Paul Clement, the former Solicitor General.

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