2012 Election | DOMA | Gay Marriage | News

Obama Predicts SCOTUS Will Strike Down DOMA: VIDEO


During an interview yesterday, MTV's Sway asked President Obama whether he intends on expanding marriage equality from coast-to-coast during his second term. Reminding him that the federal government and Supreme Court have both intervened in civil rights fights — the 1964 Civil Rights Act and Loving v. Virginia — Sway wonders whether Obama can go further than he already has in terms of gay marriage.

Obama replied by reiterating his much-touted evolution on the issue, telling Sway that meeting loving same-sex couples "taught me that if you're using different words [for marriage], if you're somehow singling them out, they don't feel true equality".

He also stuck by state-based marriage laws, but also said he anticipates the Supreme Court will strike down the Defense of Marriage Act. Here's an excerpt of his response:

Historically, marriages have been defined at the state level. There's a conversation going on… New York has moved forward with one set of ideas; there are some other states that are still having that debate. ANd I think that for us to try to legislate federally into this area is probably the wrong way to go. The courts are going to be examining these issues — I've stood up and said I'm opposed to the so-called Defense of Marriage Act.
There are a couple of cases that are working their way through the courts and my expectation is that [DOMA] will be overturned, but ultimately I believe if we have that conversation at the state level, the evolution that's taking place in this country will get us to a place where we are going to be recognizing everybody fairly and I'm very proud of that fact that as president I've got a track record of not just talking the talk on this, but walking the walk: ending Don't Ask, Don't Tell, making sure that federal employees are treated equally when it comes to their partners and I'm going to keep pushing as hard as I can.

Watch video of the interview AFTER THE JUMP.

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  1. The LGBT population has never had such an amazing ally as we have in President Obama. It's stupid NOT to vote for him. Thank you Mr. President.

    Posted by: Bobby | Oct 27, 2012 10:15:57 AM

  2. "There are a couple of cases that are working /there\ THEIR way..." - sorry but that burns my eyeballs

    Anyway, I love that he refers to it as the "so-called" Defense of Marriage Act.

    I can't believe anyone who identifies as gay would EVER vote for anyone else, when we already have the most gay-friendly and supportive president in history ready to tackle a second term.

    Posted by: sparks | Oct 27, 2012 10:16:31 AM

  3. Obama is the first President brave enough to support the GLBT community’s access to basic civil rights. The church and conservative hands paint a Blackface on him for defending this human-rights issue. Religious doctrine and the bigotry which goes along with it have NO place in politics. Read about how Obama and simple logic are being bamboozled at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot.com/2012/10/bamboozling-obama.html

    Posted by: Brandt Hardinb | Oct 27, 2012 10:22:21 AM

  4. "New York has moved forward with one set of ideas; there are some other states that are still having that debate."

    Passing 32 state constitutional amendments is NOT having a debate. That ENDS the conversation. It is also blatantly discriminatory, just like DOMA. The Supreme Court has an obligation to strike down those bans, just like they did in 1967. So, no, I don't think marriage is solely a state's rights issue, especially when the government provides over 1,000 benefits.

    Posted by: David in Houston | Oct 27, 2012 10:25:53 AM

  5. The rights of minorities should never be put up for a vote by the majority. Ever. The reality is that most people aren't Jews, for example, and when you give such a large majority legal authority to control a minority they will vote in their own self interest- with disastrous consequences.

    It's the courts' job to stick up for minorities. How long do you think it would have taken for legislatures to throw out segregation? SCOTUS is all that protects us from total hooliganism. Pray, contribute, do what you have to - just get....Obama.....re-elected for the sake of the Supreme Court among many other reasons.

    Posted by: Rob | Oct 27, 2012 10:44:45 AM

  6. With Ginsburg, Scalia and Kennedy in their late seventies, the man who wins this election will likely determine the direction of the Supreme Court for the next 20 to 30 years.

    Given that, any gay man who doesn't support Obama is setting himself back 20 to 30 years.

    Posted by: Eddie | Oct 27, 2012 10:47:44 AM

  7. So, the translation is that in-spite-of all the millions that the Obama campaign has shook-out of the Gay Money-tree, the Obama administration ISN'T going to lift ONE-FINGER in support of Gay Marriage? He's just going to sit-back and rely-on the Courts and the States?

    The Gay Left just got thrown-under the bus yet-again...

    Posted by: Ted B. (Charging Rhino) | Oct 27, 2012 10:52:59 AM

  8. Whether you want Obama or Romney appointing the next one or more Supreme Court Justices is the single MOST important issue in this election.

    Posted by: andrew | Oct 27, 2012 10:57:14 AM

  9. Actually you buried the lead. Obama is saying he is AGAINST Federal Legislation on marriage equality! And this story corrects Obama's error, twice he actually called it the "Defense Against Marriage Act"

    Posted by: Wayne | Oct 27, 2012 11:31:28 AM

  10. Actually, @Ted B., what you call The Gay Left (in reality, any sane gay person) hasn't been thrown under the bus at all by the Obama administration, quite the contrary.

    If you think that the President's personal support of marriage equality from his bully pulpit is insignificant then you're either naive or disingenuous. Equality is the mainstream Democratic position now, in part thanks to the President's support. By comparison, the Republicans are fronted by the 100% anti-gay team of Romney-Ryan.

    Furthermore, Obama's DOJ (unlike Republican BLAG--using our $ to work against our families) is on our side in the DOMA cases headed towards the Supreme Court, and the next President will be filling any vacancies. Huge. We all know what a Republican-chosen justice will look like, and it will be anti-equality.

    The fact is marriage equality isn't likely to be achieved by federal legislation, at least not with a Republican or near-Republican majority because no Republican majority has ever in history passed a single piece of pro-gay legislation.

    Why is it the gay Republicans never say how a President Romney (you know, the guy who supports a constitutional amendment to void all legal marriages of same-sex couples) would NOT be throwing gay people under the bus, then running said bus back and forth over us a few hundred times.

    Posted by: Ernie | Oct 27, 2012 11:50:39 AM

  11. Well done, Mr. President.

    Posted by: ChrisQ | Oct 27, 2012 12:24:01 PM

  12. DOMA has two parts. To overturn the second part, federal recognition of state marriages, would be unsurprising and probably what Barack is referring to.

    To overturn the first part, allowing states to ignore marriages from other states, would be a seismic event in the mode of Loving v Virginia and quite unexpected.

    DOMA is not one thing. It is two.

    Posted by: Karl | Oct 27, 2012 12:27:52 PM

  13. voting for Obama next month!

    Posted by: oliver | Oct 27, 2012 12:35:30 PM

  14. Obama is doing everything he can do right now to support marriage equality. The support is not there in Congress for a repeal of DOMA or any federal expansion of marriage rights, it has to be fought in the courts and state by state, that's our only option now. I believe his support has changed opinions of many Democrats and that may make the difference with some of the ballot measures this year.

    Posted by: Ken | Oct 27, 2012 12:40:05 PM

  15. If Obama were throwing gays under a bus, Romney would throw them under, and then reverse backwardsover them, and then go to the nearest school, and refill the bus with gay kids until he could grind them under as well.

    Posted by: MikeW | Oct 27, 2012 12:43:23 PM

  16. I do believe there is a certain amount of political gamesmanship in Obama's official "states rights" position on gay marriage but I really can't fault him for it.

    The question comes down to, "Which would you rather have, a pro-gay President who comes out for federally mandated marriage equality but DOESN'T get elected, or a pro-gay President who couches his support in terms that are more palatable to voters still on the fence and DOES stay in office, where he continues to advance gay rights?"

    There is a line in an old movie about the reading of wealthy old man's will to his relative. He says about one of his nephews, "You always said you are an 'all or nothing kind of guy.' Well you can't have it all, so you get... nothing."

    At this moment in time that is the calculation the gay community is having to make. Do we accept compromise positions in order to make some significant progress, or do we insist on having it ALL even though the likely result is that we get LESS than nothing, not what we want but also losing what we already have?

    It's not that hard to figure out.

    Posted by: Caliban | Oct 27, 2012 1:01:05 PM

  17. I agree, Caliban. Proposing federal marriage equality legislation 10 days prior to an election would be big news, and not in a good way for either the President or us. (It would get that Republican base out to vote in a hurry, though.) He'd be crazy.

    The states' rights/constitutional argument is much stronger and realistic. With more states in the equality column soon (we hope!), and Section 3 of DOMA gone, the US marriage patchwork will become so absurd that Republican arguments against equality will become evermore irrational. And, by then, a solid public majority will be on our side and against backwards Republican values.

    What's telling is that even though Republicans are supposedly all about states' rights and the constitution (the conservative Ted Olson argument) the vast majority of elected Republicans (including the Romney-Ryan ticket) reject conservative/small government arguments when it comes to women's and gay rights. Then, suddenly, they want the government and the courts to intervene and control our lives.

    Posted by: Ernie | Oct 27, 2012 1:21:47 PM

  18. well, that's the hypocrisy of the GOP and its base, Ernie.

    "smaller government!" except when they need it to ban gays from existing.

    "freedom of religion!" - as long as it's theirs and nobody else's.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Oct 27, 2012 2:47:34 PM

  19. The President is exactly right. We are the United states - not a single country, but a federation of 50 quasi-independent regions. And he is a constitutionalist. The constitution unequivocally reserves the right to define marriage to the states, under the 10th amendment. At some point, sufficient states will have given us marriage rights, that all the others will have to follow. In my view, the federal rights are the important ones. If I can travel to another state, get married, and then have those 1100+ civil rights given to me, I won't care that my own state holds to a different concept of marriage. I'll want them to change of course, but the federal rights are the crown jewels in this civil rights campaign.

    Posted by: Dave | Oct 27, 2012 2:56:38 PM

  20. @Dave: You won't have those 1100+ civil rights without having federal rights. Federal rights are not the "crown jewels". They are as essential as those granted by the individual states. Furthermore, they are essential now to clear up the imbroglio caused by the conflict between states where marriage equality exists and the federal government where it does not.

    Posted by: Diogenes Arktos | Oct 27, 2012 3:25:08 PM

  21. see how happy you are, Dave, when you end up in a State that for no intelligent reason has passed an amendment to "not recognize" your marriage and you die alone in a hospital because they've decided your spouse isnt' actually your spouse. in that state.

    or attempt to have some empathy and realize this is already happening.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Oct 27, 2012 3:44:07 PM

  22. Federal employee benefits and international migration/partner issues will never be cleared up unless there are federal rights.

    These rights also have reciprocal effects around the world. Just like now where every US state has a different treatment for out-of-state licenses, every country in the world needs to treat each US state differently.

    Posted by: MikeW | Oct 27, 2012 4:22:16 PM

  23. How does the liberal view of "States Rights" square with the HUGE real-world impact of Federal employment benefits, Federal rights, entitlements and benefits available to all citizens and legal residents, and the heavy-hand of the IRS? If it's a U.S Constitutional "Right"...it can't also be reserved to the States under the 10th Amendment.

    I know the social-conservative viewpoint is mutually self-contradictory in-extremis.

    Posted by: Ted B. (Charging Rhino) | Oct 27, 2012 4:34:12 PM

  24. @Dave, The 10th Amendment does not unequivocally give the states control over the definition of Marriage; at most it gives the states purview over their own definition of Marriage, but the Full Faith and Credit Clause reserves the right to Congress to decide which legal records must be upheld by all states. Meaning it is DOMA Section 2 (and DOMA alone) which allows Florida to ignore same-sex marriages carried out in NY.

    Posted by: DavyJones | Oct 27, 2012 5:07:57 PM

  25. I know some people are less patient but what I see from him is a pragmatic cautious approach that could be the right way to go. Keep encouraging states that will likely get same-sex marriage to do so---and then push the DOMA repeal through the courts. (Because we know congress won't.) Then, when DOMA is eventually overturned in court, you got the federal government in a place where it will have to recognize the marriages of those states, AND eventually states that don't have same-sex marriage would be eventually required to recognize the ones done in other states.

    This all will ONLY happen if Obama is re-elected, because there will likely be some Supreme Court retirements in the next four years. And it doesn't take a genius to know that we need him nominating those replacements, NOT Romney.

    Posted by: Rob | Oct 28, 2012 10:47:37 AM

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