Friday, June 12, 2009
The National Gay and Lesbian Task force wasted no time attacking the Obama Department of Justice for defending the viciously homophobic, Clinton-era Defense of Marriage Act in Smelt v. United States.
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.
Candidate-Obama spend considerable time and energy courting the LGBT voter. He said during the primary that he believed DOMA (as well as DADT) should be repealed. But as president, Mr. Obama is demonstrating behavior and policy that suggests he is no different from former President George Bush vis a vis the LGBT community.
President Obama must immediately introduce bills to repeal both DOMA and DADT. The openly gay Rev. Gene Robinson recently told the Hotline in the National Journal, “patience is wearing thin” with President Obama. The LGBT will not be marginalized and taken for granted.