Postedon Jun 17, 2009 at 12:06 pm
June 16, 2009
U.S. Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) issued the following statement in response to the Obama Administration’s decision to defend the so-called 'Defense of Marriage Act' (DOMA) in a recent court filing.
“I was shocked and disappointed to learn that President Obama chose to defend DOMA in federal court, especially given his campaign promise to call for a full repeal of DOMA. My sadness turned to outrage when I read the Justice Department’s brief that not only defended this hurtful law but seemed to embrace it. Comparing my loving relationship with my partner, Marlon, to incest was unconscionable coming from a president who has called for change.
Since this filing, I have called on the President to issue a statement or give any sign that would clarify his position and am disappointed in his lack of reply.
I am a proud Democrat, as are many in the GLBT community, and I believe we must hold our leaders accountable. The Obama Administration made a HUGE mistake in the DOMA brief. If they keep making mistakes like this, they risk losing the support of the GLBT community forever, although I do not believe we are at that point yet.
President Obama needs to honor his promise to repeal this law and end its needlessly divisive and harmful impact on our nation. I again call on him to work with us in Congress to help pass legislation, ending this hateful and divisive law.
As the New York Times editorialized yesterday, “busy calendars and political expediency are no excuse for making one group of Americans wait any longer for equal rights.”
Postedon Jun 17, 2009 at 07:13 am
June 15, 2009
The Human Rights Campaign took President Obama to task following the release of a controversial Justice Department brief last week that defended the Defense of Marriage Act. In a letter sent to Obama on Monday, HRC President Joe Solmonese contests certain arguments made in the brief and urges the president to move to repeal DOMA, which prevents federal recognition of same-sex unions:
When a woman must choose between her job and caring for her spouse because they are not covered by the [Family Medical Leave Act], DOMA is not 'netural.' DOMA is not a 'neutral' policy to the thousands of bi-national same-sex couples who have to choose between family and country because they are considered strangers under our immigration laws. It is not a 'neutral' policy toward the minor child of a same-sex couple, who is denied thousands of dollars of surviving mother's or father's benefits because his parents are not 'spouses' under Social Security law. Exclusion is not neutrality. If we are equals, if you recognize that our families live the same, love the same, and contribute as much as yours, then ... we call on you to put your principles into action and send legislation repealing DOMA to Congress.
Postedon Jun 16, 2009 at 08:33 pm
June 16, 2009
Last week, President Obama's Justice Department filed a legal brief against marriage equality in which it compared gay unions to incestuous ones and that of an underage girl – in the sense that states have the right to not recognize marriages that are legal in other states or countries. The timing of the brief is awkward, given that next Thursday, June 25, the Democratic National Committee is hitting up the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community for cash in a fundraiser featuring Vice President Biden. As John Aravosis at AmericaBlog reports, gay donors, outraged at the legal brief, are withdrawing their support from the event. [Link]
Postedon Jun 16, 2009 at 02:10 pm
June 16, 2009
A prominent gay-rights organization, long supportive of President Barack Obama, sent him a scathing letter Monday to protest the administration's recent legal backing of the Defense of Marriage Act. The letter from Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese included a detailed critique of the administration's filing. "This brief would not have seen the light of day if someone in your administration who truly recognized our humanity and equality had weighed in with you," he wrote. [Link]
Postedon Jun 16, 2009 at 12:30 pm
June 16, 2009
The Obama administration, which came to office promising to protect gay rights but so far has not done much, actually struck a blow for the other side last week. It submitted a disturbing brief in support of the Defense of Marriage Act, which is the law that protects the right of states to not recognize same-sex marriages and denies same-sex married couples federal benefits. In times like these, issues like repealing the marriage act can seem like a distraction — or a political liability. But busy calendars and political expediency are no excuse for making one group of Americans wait any longer for equal rights. [Link]
Postedon Jun 16, 2009 at 12:00 pm
June 16, 2009
Rachel Maddow took on the Obama administration's defense of DOMA last night on MSNBC. Maddow: "Are you ready for the latest talking points against same-sex marriage in the United States? Here we go. Are you ready? ..." Guest Howard Dean was at his firebrand best. In unvarnished language he condemned the Department of Justic brief on DOMA calling it a "big mistake" and a problem Obama will have "dig himself out of." He also forcefully stated, "But this is a huge mistake. You cannot talk about gay Americans the way gay Americans were talked about in this brief." Watch the full interview below:
Postedon Jun 15, 2009 at 10:40 pm
When running last year, President Obama said, "Federal law should not discriminate in any way against gay and lesbian couples, which is precisely what DOMA does." So why does his Department of Justice put forward offensive and nonsensical arguments to say this unjust federal law does not discriminate? It's not too late for a fast correction so together we can get back to "change we can believe in." (Source: Facebook)
Postedon Jun 15, 2009 at 07:11 pm
June 14, 2009
Evan Wolfson of Freedom to Marry posted the following on Facebook:
The Obama Administration stumbled badly in defending the federal anti-marriage law, so-called "DOMA," despite his repeated campaign promises to end this federal discrimination against married gay couples and their loved ones. It is appalling to see the Obama Justice Department out-Bushing the Bush administration in its anti-gay arguments to shore up a massively unjust law that President Obama pledged to undo.[Link]
Postedon Jun 15, 2009 at 01:01 am
June 12, 2009
Gay rights groups expressed dismay with the Obama administration Friday over its championing of the Defense of Marriage Act, a law the president pledged to try to repeal while on the campaign trail. The government filed a motion late Thursday to dismiss the case of Arthur Smelt and Christopher Hammer, who are challenging the 1996 federal act. The law prevents couples in states that recognize same-sex unions from securing Social Security spousal benefits, filing joint taxes and other federal rights of marriage. "The president made very explicit and emphatic campaign promises that he opposes DOMA and would provide leadership calling on Congress to repeal it," said Jennifer Pizer, marriage project director for Lambda Legal. "This brief is not consistent with that promise." [Link]
Postedon Jun 15, 2009 at 12:35 am
June 14, 2009
Richard Socarides, a former Hill staffer and top aide to President Clinton, weighs in on whether or not President Obama's Department of Justice had a choice to file a brief supporting the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA):
From my experience, in a case where, as here, there are important political and social issues at stake, the president’s relationship with the Justice Department should work like this: The president makes a policy decision first and then the very talented DOJ lawyers figure out how to apply it to actual cases. If the lawyers cannot figure out how to defend a statute and stay consistent with the president’s policy decision, the policy decision should always win out.[Link]