Since then, society's views on gay and lesbian citizens have evolved considerably; more than a handful of states now recognize and perform gay marriages, anti-hate-crime legislation intended to protect gay citizens has been passed, and, most recently, the policy that ejected openly gay service members from the military was repealed.
Last week, the nation moved one step closer to achieving true equality for all its citizens. President Obama's Department of Justice announced that it would cease to defend DOMA in court because the administration considers the law to be unconstitutional.
But many social conservatives were predictably unhappy. Coming to the defense of the "sanctity of marriage" was former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who is now on his third marriage; his two previous marriages ended in divorce following his extra-marital affairs.
Gingrich raised the specter of impeachment due to Obama's supposed "dereliction of duty and ... violation of his constitutional oath."
In this case, Gingrich said that Obama's decision to cease defending DOMA and to "start replacing the rule of law with the rule of Obama is a very dangerous precedent."
Indeed, it would be disconcerting if Obama had decided to forgo enforcing an existing law and replace it with his own. But that's not the case.
Attorney General Eric Holder announced that while the Department of Justice would no longer defend DOMA in court, it would continue to enforce the law until Congress repealed it or until the courts rendered "a definitive verdict against the law's constitutionality."
Both Obama and Holder believe DOMA to be unconstitutional. The very oath of office that Gingrich said Obama was in violation of requires the president to "preserve, protect, and defend" the Constitution. Therefore, far from violating his oath of office, Obama is actually upholding it by refusing to defend a law that he believes to be in conflict with the Constitution.
That decision is not without precedent; Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and George W. Bush have all refused to defend laws that they considered to be in violation of the Constitution.
Of course, the final word on the constitutionality of DOMA rests with the courts. Even so, the law is clearly in violation of the equal protection component of the Fifth Amendment.
Under the law, married same-sex couples are denied the full federal benefits that are afforded to married opposite-sex couples. Namely, these marriage related benefits include social security benefits, federal employee benefits, work leave to provide care for a spouse, and even survivor benefits for widows and widowers.
It is evident that DOMA creates a situation in which married gay couples are not treated in a manner that is "equal" to that of married straight couples.
Attorney General Holder wrote that, because gays and lesbians are a disadvantaged group with a history of discrimination, the courts should review cases challenging DOMA under a heightened standard of scrutiny.
Should the courts agree, DOMA supporters will have to prove that denying federal recognition to same-sex couples is "substantially related to an important government objective."
Can DOMA supporters really muster the nerve to argue that the denial of basic happiness and equality to a select group constitutes an important objective of the U.S. government?