The couple had argued that the law, which prohibits federal recognition of same-sex marriage, discriminated against gay men and lesbians. U.S. District Judge David O. Carter ruled that the court lacked jurisdiction to consider the broader constitutional questions.
During his campaign, Obama promised to work for DOMA's repeal. While defending the law, government attorneys wrote that it was discriminatory. "This administration does not support DOMA as a matter of policy, believes that it is discriminatory, and supports its repeal," they wrote.
Here's more from the Associated Press:
Brian Raum, a lawyer for the Alliance Defense Fund, a Christian legal group that has joined the government in defending the federal marriage law, said Carter was right to dismiss the case on procedural grounds.
The federal government cannot be sued in state courts, Raum said.
Smelt and Hammer's lawsuit could be back in a federal court in a matter of months, when "ultimately it will come down to the merits," he said.
Earlier this year, a gay rights group in Massachusetts filed a lawsuit challenging the Defense of Marriage Act on constitutional grounds, and the state brought a separate case arguing that the law interferes with its right to establish its own marriage laws.