The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was a piece of legislation passed in 1996, which, among other things, defined marriage as the union between one man and one woman. This piece of legislation also allowed states to refuse to allow same sex couples to be married. The third section of this piece of legislation, the section that defined marriage, was found to be unconstitutional in 2013, which many people believe to be the turning point in this nations struggle with regards to legalizing same sex marriage. This piece of legislation was signed into effect when President Bill Clinton was in office, and many people now believe it to be a stain on the record of his presidency. The section that was found to be unconstitutional was originally intended to provide guidelines with regards to how to disperse life insurance and power of attorney to spouses when the other was injured.
In the immigration context DOMA prevented a US citizen to apply for his foreign national spouse unless the marriage was between a husband and wife. An immigration judge had no authority to rule otherwise. DOMA was the rule of the land until 2013.