Government drops defense of anti-gay-marriage law

FILE - In this file photo from March 4, 2008, Diane Sabin and her partner Jewelle Gomez hold hands in San Francisco. The lawyers in the landmark federal trial over the constitutionality of California's gay marriage ban may have to check their dazzling oratory at the courtroom door during next week's closing arguments. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, file)

February 23, 2011 10:04:15 PM PST
President Barack Obama ordered his administration on Wednesday to stop defending the constitutionality of a federal law that bans recognition of gay marriage, a policy reversal that could have major implications for the rights and benefits of gay couples and reignite an emotional debate for the 2012 presidential campaign.