HRC, NGLTF, ACLU, Others Call on Obama To Repeal DOMA Now

LGBT Legal And Advocacy Groups Decry Obama Administration's Defense of DOMA

We are very surprised and deeply disappointed in the manner in which the Obama administration has defended the so-called Defense of Marriage Act against Smelt v. United States, a lawsuit brought in federal court in California by a married same-sex couple asking the federal government to treat them equally with respect to federal protections and benefits.  The administration is using many of the same flawed legal arguments that the Bush administration used.  These arguments rightly have been rejected by several state supreme courts as legally unsound and obviously discriminatory. 

We disagree with many of the administration’s arguments, for example that DOMA is a valid exercise of Congress’s power, is consistent with Equal Protection or Due Process principles, and does not impinge upon rights that are recognized as fundamental.

We are also extremely disturbed by a new and nonsensical argument the administration has advanced suggesting that the federal government needs to be "neutral" with regard to its treatment of married same-sex couples in order to ensure that federal tax money collected from across the country not be used to assist same-sex couples duly married by their home states.  There is nothing "neutral" about the federal government’s discriminatory denial of fair treatment to married same-sex couples:  DOMA wrongly bars the federal government from providing any of the over one thousand federal protections to the many thousands of couples who marry in six states.  This notion of "neutrality" ignores the fact that while married same-sex couples pay their full share of income and social security taxes, they are prevented by DOMA from receiving the corresponding same benefits that married heterosexual taxpayers receive.  It is the married same-sex couples, not heterosexuals in other parts of the country, who are financially and personally damaged in significant ways by DOMA.  For the Obama administration to suggest otherwise simply departs from both mathematical and legal reality. 

When President Obama was courting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender voters, he said that he believed that DOMA should be repealed.  We ask him to live up to his emphatic campaign promises, to stop making false and damaging legal arguments, and immediately to introduce a bill to repeal DOMA and ensure that every married couple in America has the same access to federal protections. 


  1. says


    “During LGBT Pride Month, we commemorate the events of June 1969 and commit to achieving equal justice under law for LGBT Americans.”

    LIE #1 — He commits to no such thing when his DOJ supports DOMA.

    “Here at home, I continue to support measures to bring the full spectrum of equal rights to LGBT Americans. These measures include enhancing hate crimes laws, supporting civil unions and Federal rights for LGBT couples(…)”

    HALF-TRUTH #1 — He must be supporting these measures in his home, because he sure as hell isn’t doing it on the job.

    “(…)I call upon the LGBT community, the Congress, and the American people to work together to promote equal rights for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.”

    HALF-TRUTH #2 — Well, to be fair he does say “promote equal rights for all” rather than “repeal bigoted discriminatory laws.”

    Change We Can Believe In. Right. Like we can believe in the Tooth Fairy, if we so choose. Intelligent minds know better.

  2. Alex says

    While it’s disappointing, I’m not shocked. People let this man tell them lies on the campaign trail and he is now disappointing even more than Bill Clinton did in the 90s.

    What is interesting is the only piece of the Executive who seems to be doing anything for gay citizens is the State Department, run by of course Hillary.

    Guess the gay orgs and most gays I know put their money on the wrong horse.

    Told you so. :)

  3. Peter says

    Who at the DOJ wrote these briefs? During the W. era, DOJ attorneys were hired based on the degree of their neoconservative beliefs. This type of legal insult smells of such ambulance-chasing swine.

    That aside, Eric Holder should have exhibited quality control.

  4. Wes says

    Alex you really can’t make the holier-than-thou Clinton arguement, blaming Obama for having not yet repealed DOMA and DADT, both signed into law by a Clinton to begin with.

    And yes, Clinton can afford to be extra gay friendly because she is not president and therefore receives far less attention and scrutiny than Obama. In short, no one but us gays are even noticing.

    I’m pissed at Obama over this, but the “I told you so” stuff rings hollow when these laws literally would not exist without the Clintons.

    Just sayin.

  5. says

    I’m not calling on the Obama Administration to do anything. I’m gonna focus my energy on the midterm elections & supporting any candidate who will stand against the anti-gay stance of our “fierce advocate”. As far as I’m concern our dear president can burn in hell.

  6. DUNCUN says

    clinton did the mess now obama should clean it up, just like bush did the mess now obama must clean it up. Obama the cleaning up boy who gets called names for not cleaning up fast enough as clinton and bush sit back and smile.

  7. JeffRob says

    “As far as I’m concern our dear president can burn in hell.”

    Haha! “Occasionally obtuse” indeed.

    Why have we become so polarized in our thinking? Not every gay-related decision from a governing body is either 100% pro-gay or anti-gay. I know it’s hard to admit, but there’s some gray area.

    The CA Supreme Court, for instance, only ruled that the state constitution could legally be revised by public vote, essentially codifying direct democracy in CA instead of representative democracy. And glbt folks were pissed off all day talkin’ bout throwing bottles through windows as if Barney F had just been strung up. Get a grip, my people.

    The DOJ did not just tell us gay marriage is not a right. They told us that they will refuse to make our marriages federally recognized when 44 of 50 states still refuse to recognize them. Frustrating? Yes. Wrong? Absolutely. Anti-gay? Arguably.

    Proof that Obama is a homophobic scumbag fraud that duped us into voting for him and has no intention of doing anything to advance our rights? PUH-LEEZE. You can keep all that kool-aid for yourself.

  8. Terry says

    Fact is, WE ARE IRRELEVANT. We are a tiny minority, with many of us still in the closet, who are patronized and given lip service by our “friends.”

    Now if we were BLACK, it would be a different story.

  9. jmdrwac says

    What does HRC mean Obama has a duty to put his principles into action. He IS putting his principles into action, by supporting DOMA and refusing to take the 10 seconds that would be required to sign an order ending DADT.

    HRC needs to listen to the last track on “Who’s Next.”

  10. Alex says

    Clinton (Bill) signed those at the behest of the legislature during times when he had no political capital. DADT was still a better option than what existed prior to Clinton which was that gays could not serve, closeted or otherwise. It was a disappointment, no doubt, but I would certainly not compare the political power and capital Obama is currently riding with what Clinton faced in 1993. That said, I was speaking about Hillary, not Bill. If the State Dept can be open minded, why not the Justice Dept? Erik Holder is no more the President than Hillary. The fact is this brief is disgusting and insulting and beyond the pale considering the promises made by Obama to the gay community. It’s not even that he’s not doing anything, it’s that he’s actively allowing his Justice Department to make it more difficult for the very thing he’s promised to happen.

    The apologists on here and in the gay community make me nearly as sick as Log Cabin Republicans.

  11. JeffRob says

    I ain’t apologizin for shit.

    It’s called politics. He is a politician. He is the best politician of our lifetime. He’s doing things the way they need to be done, and soon we’ll all see that truth. You know, once the government stops running every single large corporation in the country.

    It’s just politics, and when it comes to our actual freedom, it matters very, very minutely. Free yourselves, people. You are responsible for your own equality. If you and your partner want to get married, but you’re waiting for legal recognition- DON’T! Hold a gigantic wedding now, invite everyone you know, and very publicly do not give a flying eff whether your government recognizes it or not.

    That’s my advice. Our love, our lives, are our best protest. Free yourselves. That’s the only freedom we’ll really ever need, or have.

    But otherwise, Obama’s a great president who just needs some time to get other shit done. Just relax, kids.

  12. shawngust says

    Relax? I’ll “relax” when I’m not a second class citizen, federally and at the state level. Try telling the one surviving spouse of a gay couple to “relax” after his partner, who was the breadwinner, has died and no social security benefits are available. No, that goes “up in smoke” if you’re gay. But not if you’re straight, the checks start coming. How fair is that? Put yourself in that position. Then see if you can “relax”.

  13. Alan says

    “Fact is, WE ARE IRRELEVANT. We are a tiny minority, with many of us still in the closet, who are patronized and given lip service by our “friends.”

    Now if we were BLACK, it would be a different story.”


    I couldn’t agree with you more. It will take a lot to convince me that Straight Guys actually honestly, sincerely can feel comfortable around a gay guy much less work hard to support or help gays gain rights. This isn’t about the women, it’s about the gay guys. Do you even hear ONE Sports figure weigh in to help gay guys? No, they just want the Lakers to win the playoffs and if DADT is kept, then they don’t have to feel uncomfortable in the showers.

  14. says

    If some one gay is ill advised enough to actually file a civil rights lawsuit to a Conservative Packed Federal Court System, the very least the Obama Administration could do is to PROTECT THE GAYS FROM THEMSELVES by filing a motion to dismiss the lawsuit.

    Listen up gurls, NO ISSUES ARE DECIDED WITH A LAWSUIT IS DISMISSED IN FEDERAL COURT because the dismissal means that the Court had no jurisdiction over the lawsuit. Without proper jurisdiction, there can’t be any binding legal precedence.

  15. paul c says

    “Now if we were BLACK, it would be a different story.”

    @Terry – I’m not sure why you say this, as black people didn’t have anything handed to them on a silver platter. If you’re implying that Obama favors black people, I don’t necessarily see that either.

    Obama is a narcissist who cares only about himself. Don’t get bigotted and drag other minority groups down just because you feel bitter about having a third Bush term, or “McSame” I think they called it a few months ago when I was being berated here every day for voting Libertarian.

  16. Lucifer says

    “It’s called politics. He is a politician. He is the best politician of our lifetime.”

    Yet when he ran against Hillary it was she that would have said and done anything to get elected. That was the politician. He was different. He was change. BULL SHIT THEN AND BULLSHIT NOW!

  17. Christian Young says

    We should hold Obama accountable for what he promised during his campaign. We should play this speech day and night during the March in Washington, DC, on a big screen with loud speakers. Maybe then his daughters would ask him about what’s going on…

  18. el polacko says

    what is more offensive than a gay man saying that there are “more important” things than our own equality under the law ?!? all these decades of political struggle mean nothing… just wait a while longer until the ‘important’ things are taken care of… well, hate to tell you but there will ALWAYS be ‘more important’ things to people who don’t give a shit about your rights and, if you aren’t willing to fight for them, we’ll never have them.

  19. says

    Disappointing. President Obama is so right on almost every issue, yet either wrong on ours or unwilling to take a stand.

    What’s puzzling is: Pushing ENDA, Hate Crimes, and signing a stop-loss order on DADT would cost almost nothing in political capital. The voters who would be opposed already make up the 30% who disapprove of his performance anyway. He’s not going to win them over in any event – they either think he’s a Muslim or that he faked his birth certificate or any of the other malarkey.

  20. glennmcgahee says

    Its really hysterical that there are soe still defending this guy. With Clinton this and Clinton that. Mrs Clinton has always been a fierce advocate for us. ALWAYS! Attack her and you are only hurting yourself. Obama can’t have the African American churches turn on him. He needs them for 2012.

  21. Husky says

    Haha I remember the HRC in D.C. handing out pro Obama stickers. I already knew he’d toss our asses under the bus, the Civil rights bus. Jerks voted for him anyway. No one to blame but our people who voted for him.

  22. jmdrwac says

    If you are waiting on the HRC to help obtain full equality, I suggest you get used to riding in the back of the bus. More concerned with being part of the in crowd than doing the hard work of lobbying, HRC is the most inept organization going. I sometimes wonder if Pat Robertson finances them.

  23. g_whiz says

    Okay, I think DOMA is an affront and obviously a problem that needs to be addressed. There are a lot of misgivings the gay community has had about the (lack of) dialouge about the issues of the day, and by and large these are legitimite issues to scrutinize…but to those suggesting that because Cheney is using this as a wedge issue (again) to turn us against the base he’s somehow our ally…I really don’t get how thats a possibly defensible assertion. DADT existed during the two terms in which he served, the fear of gay marriage was used as a wedge issue in not one, but two election campaigns. The enemy of our enemy in this case is most certianly not our friend. President Obama’s guilt by omission on these issues is nowhere as bad as how quickly Conservatives like Cheney are willing to manipulate the “hot button” issue that is our lives for gain. If the man had any interest in equality for gay and lesbian Americans it would have come up well before it became a snarky talking point against the Administration. Opportunist.

  24. Troy says

    Obama is not a coward when it comes to LGBT issues, he’s a liar. But I must add, anyone that didn’t see this coming is as blind as a bat, the man will say anything to salve the political asses of Washington DC.

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