Supporters of the Defense of Marriage Act when it passed included Democratic Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada, whos now the Senate majority leader, and then-Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware, now the vice president.
The House of Representatives, which passed the bill by an overwhelming 342-67, explained in a committee report that the law was meant to convey moral disapproval of homosexuality. One of the laws chief backers at the time, current Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., said during the House debate that homosexual conduct was based on perversion and . . . lust.
In the years that followed, though, a number of supporters began back-pedaling. The act now is opposed by former Rep. Bob Barr of Georgia, a Republican author of the bill who in July 1996 decried the flames of hedonism, the flames of narcissism, the flames of self-centered morality (that) are licking at the very foundations of our society: the family unit.
The Obama administration initially defended the federal law, as is customary for administrations, but it stopped in February 2011 after concluding that Section 3 violated the Constitution. In its place, House Republicans funded the defense of the statute through whats called the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group.