Still Waiting

The Economist
August 20, 2009
The Economist examines what some see as a discrepancy between the Justice Department's continued legal defense of the federal DOMA and its assertion that the Obama administration views the law as discriminatory. [Link]

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Time Magazine: Obama, the Marriage Equality Flip-Flopper

Time Magazine
August 19, 2009
John Cloud concurs with criticism of the Obama administration by many members of the LGBT community who feel the president's stance and action thus far on LGBT issues seem muddled and/or evasive. [Link]

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LGBT Leaders: Department of Justice Statement an Improvement

Bay Area Reporter
August 20, 2009
LGBT legal activists have applauded the DOJ's statement on Monday that the Obama administration does not support DOMA, even though they are disappointed the DOJ still suggests that DOMA is constitutional. "I hope we'll also see the White House work with leaders in Congress to repeal DOMA as soon as possible," said Evan Wolfson of Freedom to Marry, "but this brief is definitely a vast improvement over the last one." [Link]

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Evan Wolfson: Bill Clinton can be a Very Important Voice in Explaining Why He Changed His Mind

Bay Area Reporter
August 20, 2009
Bill Clinton's remarks on DADT and DOMA in Pittsburgh last week have drawn criticism from several LGBT leaders. Evan Wolfson, however, points out that "We don't need to look backward... it would be better if he talked about why he's moved ahead." [Link]

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New DOMA Brief More LGBT-Friendly

The Advocate
August 17, 2009
The second Department of Justice brief filed yesterday in response to the Smelt v. United States lawsuit challenging the Defense of Marriage Act was not only much more palatable, but also made some historic concessions. The brief clearly states the president's position regarding DOMA: "With respect to the merits, this Administration does not support DOMA as a matter of policy, believes that it is discriminatory, and supports its repeal." [Link]

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ACLU: Federal Government’s Comments on DOMA Promising

ACLU
August 17, 2009
The brief filed by the Justice Department in Smelt v. United States on Monday shows that the federal government heard and understood some of the concerns raised by the LGBT community in response to the brief it filed in June. [Link]

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Obama affirms DOMA is discriminatory, calls for repeal in legal brief

Politico
August 17, 2009

Following a furious outcry from the gay community, the Obama Administration is toning down its defense of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. President Barack Obama is also stepping out on the issue, issuing a written statement explaining his stance.

In a brief filed Monday morning in a lawsuit challenging the validity of DOMA, the Justice Department put on the record that the administration favors repeal of the statute — a position that was omitted from a controversial legal filing the department made in June. DOJ also explicitly rejected arguments put forward by conservative groups that the importance of marriage for child rearing is a legitimate justification for DOMA's ban on federal recognition of same-sex unions.

The brief states:
"The government does not contend that there are legitimate government interests in "creating a legal structure that promotes the raising of children by both of their biological parents" or that the government's interest in "responsible procreation" justifies Congress's decision to define marriage as a union between one man and one woman. ... Since DOMA was enacted, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Psychological Association, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the American Medical Association, and the Child Welfare League of America have issued policies opposing restrictions on lesbian and gay parenting because they concluded, based on numerous studies, that children raised by gay and lesbian parents are as likely to be well-adjusted as children raised by heterosexual parents. ... The United States does not believe that DOMA is rationally related to any legitimate government interests in procreation and child-rearing and is therefore not relying upon any such interests to defend DOMA's constitutionality"

(Link)

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Obama Administration: DOMA Unfair

The Associated Press
August 17, 2009
The Obama administration filed court papers Monday claiming the so-called federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) discriminates against gays, even as government lawyers continue to defend the law. "The administration believes the Defense of Marriage Act is discriminatory and should be repealed," said Justice Department spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler, because it prevents equal rights and benefits. [Link]

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Feingold is courted to push bill to overturn federal marriage ban

The Washington Blade
July 31, 2009
Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee's Constitution Subcommittee, is considered a prime candidate to sponsor the Senate version of a bill to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. Feingold, whose panel has jurisdiction over DOMA, was one of 14 senators not to vote in favor of the law in 1996. [Link]

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Summer of 2009 an active one for Marriage Equality

The Detroit News
August 5, 2009
Deb Price reviews the summer of 2009, during which Massachusetts has brought "a gem of a lawsuit" against the federal Defense of Marriage Act, former President Clinton has carefully endorsed marriage equality (Evan Wolfson: "President Clinton is Exhibit A in the power of talking with people about our lives - and not writing them off. It shows people can and do move."), President Obama has urged the repeal of DOMA, and much more. [Link]

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