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DOMA, Supreme Court face tide of Twitter criticism

March 27, 2013|By Matt Pearce

As the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments Wednesday over the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, supporters and opponents of the law took to the Web to make their own case.

Enacted in 1996 under a Republican Congress and Democratic President Bill Clinton, the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, defined marriage for federal purposes as a union between a man and a woman.

The law also allowed states to deny legal recognition to same-sex marriages performed outside their borders and barred the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages licensed by states.

During Wednesday's arguments, the court's four liberal justices, plus Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, expressed skepticism about the law's legality.

Among same-sex marriage supporters, hopes have been riding high for an overturn of the law, as well as a rejection of Proposition 8 in California, in which voters banned same-sex marriage. (The court heard arguments on Proposition 8 on Tuesday.)

DOMA came into being in the 1990s, when same-sex marriage was much more widely opposed; sentiment has been shifting dramatically toward it in recent years.

In 1996, a Gallup poll found only 27% of Americans thought that same-sex marriages should be as legally valid as traditional marriages. By November 2012, that number had nearly doubled to 53%.

Some Twitter users on Tuesday and Wednesday reiterated their belief in marriage as an institution between a man and a woman:

Supporters of same-sex marriage denounced that position with heaps of snark:

— Eric Kleefeld (@EricKleefeld) March 27, 2013

Others opposed DOMA on more libertarian grounds, arguing that it was a government intrusion on personal rights:

Others just saw the law itself as absurd:

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