ABC News’ Karen Travers reports:
Today on ABC News’ Top Line, we checked in with representatives on both sides of the same sex marriage issue for reaction to the stunning policy reversal by the Obama Administration on the Defense of Marriage Act.
Yesterday the administration announced that it would no longer defend the constitutionality of the 1996 law that defines marriage between a man and a woman.
Richard Socarides, president of Equality Matters and a former Clinton White House adviser on civil rights, called it a “gutsy move” by the Obama White House. Socarides said this will have a “ripple effect” on the cases where Americans are challenging the law in federal courts.
“The Defense of Marriage Act is on its last legs,” he said. “It was a very important thing to do symbolically to say for the first time that any discrimination in this country against gays and lesbians, gay and lesbian Americans is wrong and should be declared unconstitutional.”
On the other hand, Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, said the Obama Administration has “failed to live up to its duty to defend a law” — and expects House Republicans to intervene.
“We’ve been in a lot of discussions with leadership with members of Congress and look, they’re looking at the case, they’re making decisions as we speak. And I expect them to step in and defend the law,” he said.
Brown said that voters in 31 states have voted against same sex marriage. “The people of this country know what marriage is, they want it respected, and they want our constitutional government respected. They expect our laws to be defended and unfortunately the Obama administration has chosen not to do that.”
He said same sex marriage will be an issue for the 2012 presidential campaign.
“The fact that the Obama administration has refused to live up to its duty, this should be an issue,” Brown said. “This is about constitutional government and it’s a failure. It’s a dereliction of duty.”
More from our interview with Richard Socarides HERE
And more from our interview with Brian Brown HERE