I am beyond angry at the Obama administration for the Department of Justice brief defending the despicable Defense of Marriage Act. The brief is odious and an insult to gays and lesbians who seek nothing more than equal treatment under the law and the enforcement of the United States Constitution that, under its full faith and credit clause, would make DOMA unconstitutional.
I have found one very well written and reasoned article about this betrayal of our community by Obama.
But the brief then proceeds to defend DOMA “on the merits” — using language that is factually incorrect, and arguments that (if adopted by the courts) would damage future attempts to secure gay rights. The Administration argued that the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the U.S. Constitution does not bar states from denying out-of-state gay marriages, and they cited prior cases of out-of-state marriages that were between (a) an uncle and niece, (b) a 16-year-old and adult and (c) first cousins. Comparing same-sex marriage with incest and pedophilia is what one would expect from a Republican Administration, and for a court to agree with such reasoning is unhelpful.
The problem is, attorneys have been prattling on about how the DOJ just HAD to file a brief defending what is currently law, no matter if they disagreed with the law. Too bad that’s a specious argument:
Richard Socarides, a former top Justice Department official in the Clinton White House, argues that they did. “I know and accept that one of the Justice Department’s roles is to (generally) defend the law against constitutional attack,” he wrote this weekend. “But not in all cases, certainly not in this case — and not in this way … Where there are important political and social issues at stake, the President should make a policy decision first and then the 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.”
Read the whole article. Truly, it’s the best one I’ve read and it gives a full, balanced view of this matter. I’m still pissed off, however. I expected much more from Barack Obama who, after all, has declared himself a “fierce advocate” of the LGBT community.
Note to Pres. Obama: Look up the word “fierce” because this ain’t it.
Founder of Motley Mystic and the Jubilee! Circle interfaith spiritual community In Columbia, S.C., Candace Chellew (she/her) is the author of Bulletproof Faith: A Spiritual Survival Guide for Gay and Lesbian Christians (Jossey-Bass, 2008). Founder and Editor Emeritus of Whosoever, she earned her masters of theological studies at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology, was ordained by Gentle Spirit Christian Church in December 2003, and trained as a spiritual director through the Omega Point program of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta. She is also a musician and animal lover.