Patterico's Pontifications


Obama Administration Defends DOMA

Filed under: Obama — DRJ @ 8:53 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

According to John Aravosis at AmericaBlog:

Obama defends DOMA in federal court. Says banning gay marriage is good for the federal budget. Invokes incest and marrying children.
We just got the brief from reader Lavi Soloway. It’s pretty despicable, and gratuitously homophobic. It reads as if it were written by one of George Bush’s top political appointees. [NOTE: Maybe it was.] I cannot state strongly enough how damaging this brief is to us. 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.

Holy cow. Obama invoked incest and people marrying children.”

More at Americablog, including a link to the Obama Administration brief.

John Berry, Obama’s “openly gay Office of Personnel Management director,” asked at a recent DOJ Gay Pride Month event “Where do you stand? Honoring love as precious and true wherever you find it, or with those who would demean or deny it?”

If same-sex marriage is the answer, now gays know where Obama stands.


33 Responses to “Obama Administration Defends DOMA”

  1. Dan Savage got the message.

    Joe (17aeff)

  2. Guess we’re finding out who the real rubes were.

    Techie (482700)

  3. In light of everything that has come before, they are surprised at this because…..?

    Edward Lunny (331570)

  4. That space under the bus is getting mighty crowded . . .

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (4e7922)

  5. I will do my level best not to find any pleasure in this.

    Chris (a24890)

  6. Is “Excitable Andy” still in denial ?

    Neo (46a1a2)

  7. Actually, is Andi now preparing to do yet another 180 on the majority of his political views?

    Techie (482700)

  8. Yes,yes, it is Obama’s DOJ that is responsible for this. And this might be because the African American community is about 75% against gay marriage.

    So lets go protest against some Mormons.
    Or business owners in CA who supported the
    proposition against gay marriage.

    jack (d9cbc5)

  9. As someone pointed out yesterday, if you don’t know who the mark is when a scam is going down, you’re it.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  10. I blame Bush.

    Cue Perez Hilton’s head blowing up …

    I am sure that Teh One will be vilified the same way Miss Prejean was.

    JD (5f9cc7)

  11. Dale Carpenter over at Volokh points out that the position on DOMA requires little effort to defend it (which suggests that Prop 8 would be upheld at that level).

    Of most interest is what the DOJ has to say about the due process and equal protection claims, rejecting just about every single variation of an argument that gay-rights scholars and litigants have made over the past 30 years.

    Fundamental right to marry that includes same-sex couples? Nonsense under the narrowest approach to such rights, as articulated by Chief Justice Rehnquist in Washington v. Glucksberg, who wrote that in evaluating a fundamental-rights claim a federal court must follow tradition and tradition is to be understood as narrowly as possible.

    The Loving analogy? Rejected. Strict scrutiny for laws discriminating against gays and lesbians? Unprecedented. Sex discrimination? Meritless. Romer v. Evans? That dealt with a comprehensive denial of rights, unlike DOMA. Lawrence v. Texas? That was a privacy case.

    Ninth Amendment rights? No such thing.

    Scott Jacobs (90ff96)

  12. Oh, come on, Chris. Schadenfreude is about all we have left. I’m lovin’ it!

    Peg C. (48175e)

  13. Obama better stay out of the Mr Universe pageant.

    Kevin Murphy (0b2493)

  14. Peg C.,

    Or to put another way: Misery loves company so let’s all be miserable together.

    DRJ (180b67)

  15. He told the court, in essence, that blacks deserve more civil rights than gays, that our civil rights are not on the same level.

    Good for the Obama administration.

    To paraphrase, even a clock that is generally broken 24/7 will tell the correct time on occasion (although in the current president’s case, perhaps less than twice a day).

    I’ll say if there’s one good thing about the peculiar tolerance of Islamism in parts of the liberal Western World — which Obama is a part of — is that much of that religion’s theology (at least as apparently defined by most of its modern-day adherents) appears to not get too weepy over the issue of “civil rights!!” for same-sex couples.

    As for an example of sexuality in general being truly more malleable than the race of a person (eg skin color in particular)?

    Notice the irony of the movie “Brokeback Mountain,” which created a big and generally positive stir awhile ago, certainly among the left. Its main characters were all about people who changed their spots, if you will, and initiated hetero- and then homo-, and then hetero-, and then homosexual relationships throughout their lifetime.

    I don’t believe a black person, as one example, can become a white person, then a Latino person, then a white person, then an Asian person, then a black person all over again, then maybe an Indian or Eskimo person for a short while, throughout his or her lifetime.

    Mark (411533)

  16. DRJ, I don’t know if you mean we conservatives/libertarians, or we Americans. The misery index is pretty high but can go a lot higher. I do think before this 4 year hell is over, possibly 95% of the American public will have a visceral loathing for Obama. I’m there but then I’ve always been ahead of the curve. 😉

    Peg C. (48175e)

  17. Scott–

    There are still two issues here: the “marriage” word and religious rights, and the special legal cohabitation contract that we generally call marriage, to which special government recognition has been attached.

    The first appears to have no 14th Amendment standing whatsoever. At least not until so many states have acknowledged it that it becomes a denied common privilege.

    But the second, judged purely as a contract between two people that is granted special status (inheritance, kinship and taxes mostly) could well fall under equal-protection.

    I think it more likely that this suit will force the feds to accept civil unions as legally equivalent to marriage than it will overturn Prop 8.

    Kevin Murphy (0b2493)

  18. I also don’t want to bet against Boies and Olsen. Those are the two that fought in Gore v Bush, now working together. Possibly the two best appellate lawyers in the business.

    Kevin Murphy (0b2493)

  19. Reality to gays:

    Nobody likes your lifestyle. If politicians seem to be working with you it is because they are using you.

    You may want to reevaluate who you think is telling you the truth – those who say whatever you want them to say, or those who respect you enough to tell you what they really believe.

    Amphipolis (42043b)

  20. Amphipolis – I think the word nobody is a stretch.

    JD (5f9cc7)

  21. “He told the court, in essence, that blacks deserve more civil rights than gays, that our civil rights are not on the same level.”

    OK, Barry — we’re taking back Bayard Rustin. Welcome to the Wonderful World of Jim Crow!

    David Ehrenstein (2550d9)

  22. Scott,
    What Volokh says is no doubt valid but simple documents like the constitution haven’t prevented O’s DOJ from making arguments that are 180-out from it on numerous occasions in their short reign.

    The voting cases in Philadelphia and
    GA spring to mind along with DC representation. It is a body of “negative” rights, after all. Well, isn’t it?

    Chris (a24890)

  23. Oops. Should have written Carpenter and not Volokh.

    Chris (a24890)

  24. Does this mean those girls who made the Pat Robertson sex with a duck video are going to follow it with a Barack Obama incest song?

    harkin (5b4677)

  25. It reads as if it were written by one of George Bush’s top political appointees.

    Is there a rule now that requires liberals/progressives to include, in any criticism of Obama, a “but Bush was worse” clause”? BTW it must really hurt Mr Aravosis to know that the evil Cheney supports you and Obama doesn’t… as a conservative and a supporter of gay marriage myself, I find it very amusing.

    ADK46er (c44eac)

  26. JD –

    True, gays obviously like their lifestyle. Everyone else tolerates it.

    Amphipolis (42043b)

  27. I don’t have a “lifestyle.” I have a life.

    David Ehrenstein (2550d9)

  28. #26 ADK46er,


    Peg C. (48175e)

  29. President Obama has a duty to defend the laws of the land from any legal challenge as long as the defense is reasonable.

    A reaasonable person can conclude that the 14th Amendment does not guarantee a right to same-sex “marriage”. In fact, the U.S. Supreme Court had dismissed the appeal of Baker v. Nelson for want of a substantial federal question.

    Michael Ejercito (833607)

  30. A major problem for changing the legal definition of marriage from a concept of complimentary genitalia to percieved object a person’s sexual desire, is how do you open the barn door to let in monomgamous same sex marriage without also letting in every other form of sexual percepttion.

    I mean, if I have a constitutional right to marry my brother, then don’t you right marry both your two brothers, sister and the family dog?

    DavidL (02e14f)

  31. It’s too bad, but I still have high hopes for future changes. Politics is so frustrating sometimes. Here’s a discussion of the matter from pandalous:

    Tyla (52fd91)

  32. […] was surprised and shocked when President Obama reiterated his campaign promise, considering the work of his administration in June of 2009 to defend DOMA in federal court. The arguments made by the Obama administration in defending the Defense of […]

    No Hopey Changey for You: Despite Talk, Obama Admin Defends DOMA Again in Action (fbc0cd)

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