Barack Obama | DOMA | Gay Marriage | News

DOJ Defends DOMA, Says Good for Budget, Invokes Incest

Since my earlier post, Americablog has been busy at work parsing the briefs from the Department of Justice's motion to dismiss the federal same-sex marriage case brought by Smelt and Hammer. There's plenty more to read.

Of the DOJ's rationalization, they write:

"Obama didn't just argue a technicality about the case, he argued that DOMA is reasonable. That DOMA is constitutional. That DOMA wasn't motivated by any anti-gay animus. He argued why our Supreme Court victories in Roemer and Lawrence shouldn't be interpreted to give us rights in any other area (which hurts us in countless other cases and battles). He argued that DOMA doesn't discriminate against us because it also discriminates about straight unmarried couples (ignoring the fact that they can get married and we can't).

"He actually argued that the courts shouldn't consider Loving v. Virginia, the miscegenation case in which the Supreme Court ruled that it is unconstitutional to ban interracial marriages, when looking at gay civil rights cases. He told the court, in essence, that blacks deserve more civil rights than gays, that our civil rights are not on the same level.

"And before Obama claims he didn't have a choice, he had a choice. Bush, Reagan and Clinton all filed briefs in court opposing current federal law as being unconstitutional (we'll be posting more about that later). Obama could have done the same. But instead he chose to defend DOMA, denigrate our civil rights, go back on his promises, and contradict his own statements that DOMA was "abhorrent." Folks, Obama's lawyers are even trying to diminish the impact of Roemer and Lawrence, our only two big Supreme Court victories. Obama is quite literally destroying our civil rights gains with this brief. He's taking us down for his own benefit."

Americablog also says that the Justice Dept. is lying to Politico in a defense of the brief.

Document, AFTER THE JUMP...

Obama's Motion to Dismiss Marriage case

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  1. Sad, but true

    Posted by: shane | Jun 12, 2009 1:45:37 PM

  2. fucked again. cheney is more progessive on this issue than this asshole that i'm ashamed to say i voted for!

    Posted by: jlf | Jun 12, 2009 1:49:13 PM


    Seriously, are you QUEER and STILL paying taxes? WHY? You are funding a Theocracy with Heterosexual Privilege that SHITS on you.

    Posted by: John Bisceglia | Jun 12, 2009 1:55:12 PM

  4. Fierce Advocate my ass!

    Posted by: Liam | Jun 12, 2009 2:05:16 PM

  5. Amazing that Bush's super-conservative solicitor general, Ted Olsen, has emerged as a true advocate for equal rights, while Obama stabs his gay supporters in the back.

    Gay people working for this administration should be ashamed.

    Posted by: NickC | Jun 12, 2009 2:05:21 PM

  6. sigh, can't say i'm really surprised. I will be kind of interested in what he says when he's going for re-election, "give me your money or I'll REALLY fuck you over"??

    Posted by: Tim | Jun 12, 2009 2:06:01 PM

  7. if we stop paying taxes, they send us to jail. otherwise I would have stopped a long time ago.

    what a peice of shit obama is turning out to be. he's gonna have to do something significant if he wants my vote again, because at this point I'm over him. this is the last straw

    Posted by: Wes | Jun 12, 2009 2:07:58 PM

  8. Obama is a goddamn hypocrite

    Posted by: Danny in CA | Jun 12, 2009 2:09:58 PM

  9. obama didn't have to lift a finger to get his civil rights and 'fierce advocate' won't lift one to help us. we're on our own, kids. why he's chosen to make a political enemy out of us is beyond me.

    Posted by: psgoodguy | Jun 12, 2009 2:10:17 PM

  10. Where are all the gay Democrats by Default today? I hope they are questioning their blind support of this party.

    I'm no Republican, not even Libertarian, but I don't think I can call myself a member of the Democratic Party and look myself in the mirror any longer.

    Posted by: henry | Jun 12, 2009 2:11:48 PM

  11. Why keep my mouth shut here?

    The analysis on Ameriblog was painful to read. This is the first act of President Obama and his administration that disturbs and disappoints me.

    WTF will supporting/defending DOMA get him? I can't even see the political advantageousness here. Even if you're not an advocate of marriage equality, why support some stupid congressional act based mainly on bigotry and hatred of gay people?

    Well, here's one time when I hope he back tracks/flipflops...whatever. Yes, this fierce Obama supporter is very disappointed...for right now.

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Jun 12, 2009 2:14:44 PM

  12. Looks like the Obama administration is shaping up to be a disaster for the LGBT community. Reactionary is a word that comes to mind. I keep telling everybody that Sotomayor is a "stealth conservative" and, if confirmed, will be that elusive fifth vote on the SC to overturn Roe v Wade, amongst many roll-backs in privacy rights and civil rights that will surely come with her on the Court. I am very, very disappointed with President Obama.

    Posted by: mikeyj | Jun 12, 2009 2:15:34 PM

  13. The Department of Justice works independent of the White House. Yes, the president appoints the attorney general who serves in his cabinet so the A.G. will typically have the same political ideology, but that's it. The justice department is not politicized.

    DOMA is the law. Judges and attorneys don't make the laws. They have to act within the law. The only way DOMA can be fully repealed is by an act of Congress. So call your local congressman and stop bitching.

    If Obama was an all powerful king he would have repealed DOMA, DADT, and allowed for marriage equality federally; but he isn't, he has to work within the political system that is in place.

    If he leaves office and hasn't pushed for the repeal of DOMA, DADT, and civil unions at the very least then you can say he broke his campaign promises and said what he needed to say to get elected.

    Posted by: Brian in Texas | Jun 12, 2009 2:17:24 PM

  14. Rather than just opining (like I imagine some commenters did) I actually took the time to read the brief. It fairly and accurately argues the levels of constitutional protections afforded to gays under current Supreme Court cases. Sad but true, the Court is lagging behind public opinion and a substantial minority of states.

    Maybe the Obama DOJ didn't have to defend the law, but it is HIGHLY unusual for the DOJ to NOT defend a validly enacted statute. At any rate, how would our interests be furthered by taking this case to the Supreme Court and getting a majority decision authored by Scalia that would drip with hatred?

    Read the sections on standing and subject matter jurisdiction, too. The court will dismiss this case on those procedural/jurisdictional issues and not even get to the merits.

    Posted by: J.Lowrot | Jun 12, 2009 2:26:10 PM

  15. J. Lowrot-- So why didn't the DOJ just challenge the case on issues like standing, where there's more than enough ammunition to keep the case out of the Supreme Court, without throwing in all this gratuitous garbage, like invoking incest cases? That's pretty much John Aravosis' point over on Americablog; that it would have been fairly easy for the DOJ to get this case thrown out without resorting to dredging up all sorts of the offensive comparisons and claims that appear here. Simply offering a defense that "the administration had to defend the law" isn't responding to the specific criticism. It's not simply a question of IF they had to defend it, it's HOW they chose to go about doing so.

    Posted by: bobbyjoe | Jun 12, 2009 2:43:15 PM

  16. Thanks, Brian and J. for explaining how this works. But does an administration (Justice Dept.) have to argue the merits of a law that is bad--that they don't support? Yes, Congress passed DOMA, but can't a President and his Attorney General say, "we aint gonna' put much effort into defending this one because it's bad?"

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Jun 12, 2009 2:43:30 PM

  17. The answer to that, Derrick, is yes. Americablog has a detailed analysis of past presidents' not putting any effort into supporting a law which they did not believe in.

    Posted by: jmg | Jun 12, 2009 3:02:37 PM

  18. I agree BOBBYJOE. It is definitely in the HOW and the lengths that they went to.

    Posted by: gabriel | Jun 12, 2009 3:05:35 PM

  19. Yea I mean this reads like a passionate defense of DOMA, citing incest and pedophilia, financial incentives, etc. Not like a "oh its standing law" kind of thing.

    The more I think about it the more upset I feel about it.

    I will think carefully as to how and where to channel this outrage.

    Obama better start fighting to keep the gays on his side, or he will lose us fast.

    Posted by: Wes | Jun 12, 2009 3:07:03 PM

  20. Good lord this site is partisan. You can't even mention OBAMA in the headline, but instead hide behind DOJ. If this were happening on Bush's watch, I think we know how your headline would read. No?

    Posted by: Obama Mamma | Jun 12, 2009 3:07:59 PM

  21. Thank you for injecting common sense and legal logic into to this discussion!

    We might not like what is happening, but this present situation is a culmination of our laziness, Clinton's wasted presidency, and Bush's idiocy.

    Don't blame it on Obama-he has his hands full at the moment. Yes, yes, he should step-up and say something, but maybe his silence is telling of our own failures!

    Posted by: Godfrey | Jun 12, 2009 3:14:33 PM

  22. Well "Obama Mamma", technically it was the DOJ, and not Obama himself.

    However, if you read the post, or the links it refers to, or any of the comments here, you would probably sense a widespread disappointment and disgust with Obama over this.

    If Obama ever gets the balls to actually do or say something about this himself, I'm sure the post will indicate as such. However, until then I think your accusation is unfounded.

    Posted by: Wes | Jun 12, 2009 3:17:09 PM

  23. OBAMA MAMMA....

    Yes, this site is partisan. What do you think in your infinite wisdom the republicans and their bible-banging nutcase voters would do for us?

    Get a clue!

    Posted by: Godfrey | Jun 12, 2009 3:18:53 PM

  24. It's time to quit being surprised that Obama has decided we are his very useful Sistah Souljah. Betraying gays (essentially lying to us before the election) is a very cheap price to pay for a decent return. The only votes he loses are ours. He stands to gain by looking tough on the fags to the right wing and looking traditional and religious to the African-American demo. We're toast.

    Posted by: Roy | Jun 12, 2009 3:25:15 PM

  25. "We might not like what is happening, but this present situation is a culmination of our laziness, Clinton's wasted presidency, and Bush's idiocy."

    Love it. Nowhere in there can Obama hold any responsiblity. Its all Clinton/Bush/us (all of whom are quite imperfect but nonetheless do not absolve Obama from his due share).

    "Don't blame it on Obama-he has his hands full at the moment. Yes, yes, he should step-up and say something, but maybe his silence is telling of our own failures!"

    Yea we just haven't been trying hard enough. Don't blame the president for being a douche whose DOJ compares us to incest and pedophilia, argues for the winning financial incentives of DOMA, contends its not actually anti-gay at all, pretty much couldn't GIVE A FUCK about DADT, and laughs us off whenever we actually try confronting him with some actual activism.

    But no, lets not be unfair. He's got a lot on his plate right now, after all. We can't expect him to NOT stab us in the back when he's soooo busy with actually important stuff, like anything and everything but giving even a little baby rabbit shit about us.

    Posted by: Wes | Jun 12, 2009 3:26:08 PM

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