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Mayors criticize Justice Department support for Defense of Marriage Act [Updated]


With the Obama administration facing growing discontent among gay supporters, the mayors of Los Angeles and San Francisco joined in voicing concern today about a new U.S. Justice Department brief supporting the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

"I think it's a big mistake," San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom said shortly before he and his Los Angeles counterpart, Antonio Villaraigosa, kicked off the annual L.A. Pride parade in West Hollywood.

The 1996 law bars the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages and enables states to refuse to recognize such marriages from other states. The Justice Department enraged leaders of gay rights groups Thursday by filing a lengthy defense of the law in a federal lawsuit in which its constitutional validity is challenged.

Newsom and Villaraigosa, potential rivals in next year's Democratic primary for governor, were both careful to avoid direct criticism of President Obama, who pledged during his campaign for the White House to repeal the marriage law.

"I'm concerned about some of the arguments being made by the Justice Department," Villaraigosa said.

Gay rights groups were more blunt. Rea Carey, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund, called the administration's defense of the law unacceptable.

"Unfortunately, the malicious and outrageous arguments and language used in the Justice Department's brief [are] only serving to inflame and malign the humanity of same-sex couples and our families," Carey said.

Representatives of neither the White House nor the Justice Department were immediately available for comment.

[Updated at 1:22 p.m.: White House spokesman Shin Inouye said the Justice Department, in submitting the brief, was following its normal practice of defending a law on the books in court.

"The President has said he wants to see a legislative repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act because it prevents LGBT couples from being granted equal rights and benefits," Inouye said of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender couples.

"However, until Congress passes legislation repealing the law, the administration will continue to defend the statute when it is challenged in the justice system."]

--Michael Finnegan reporting from West Hollywood

Related story: L.A. gay pride parade darkened by U.S. stance on marriage

Photo: Christina House / For The Times

Interact140 Interactive map of milestones in the gay marriage battle and how state laws have changed since 2000

Comments () | Archives (65)

Another gay-themed story, and all of the haters come out, once again. They know that most of society is not anti-gay, so the internet serves as a safe harbor for them to express their views.

Whether you accept same-sex marriage or not, there's more integration of homosexuality in our culture than ever before, and that's a good thing for society overall. People are more comfortable exploring who they are and acknowledging their desires. I can't see anything bad about that.

Just as presidents Reagan, Bush the 1st, Clinton and Bush the 2nd all chose not to defend all laws before the Supreme Court and other venues, Obama did not have to choose to defend DOMA in the Supreme Court.

The Obama administration has already backed away from defending a law: The one prohibiting the display of marijuana policy reform ads in public transit systems.

It's worse - the last I heard, they are choosing not to enforce the laws about torture.

But this 'fierce advocate' for the LGBT community chooses to defend a law that many believe is unconstitutional - Obama's law professor among them. And the defense itself is despicable.

In the meantime, he has done NOTHING for the LGBT community, except backtrack from his campaign promises.

Not One Nickel for Obama and the Democrats until they start working on LGBT civil rights issues. NADA.

As a Democrat, who happenes to be gay, I actually voted for McCain; not on account of all of his postitions, but on account of his honesty and his experience. Obama sounded too much like someone who was trying to win the "gay vote." I would rather have someone in office that I feel can trust rather than someone who says "trust me" and turns his back on you once he's elected.

The people of CA have spoken against same sex marriage.
The black community and Latino community voted for PROP 8. Why don't you take your perverted parade to Compton or Hawthorne Blvd. You're like a whining 4 yr old that doesn't get her way. The request you are making is over the top for mainstream America. You have domestic rights that equal the rights of married people. But now it comes out you want the health insurance of your partner you want the Soc Sec benefits and money of your partner you want you want you want.
Main stream America does not trust the LGBT.

Lets look at this as just facts. One fact is, no matter how much you scream, yell,curse, belittle or deny it, homosexuality is not normal. Just because homosexuals claim to be normal as do drunks, gamblers, drug addicts, co-dependents, and other forms of un-acceptable behavior do not make it so. If a young woman looks into a mirror and says she if fat and starves herself to death, we say she has mental and emotional issues. If a man looks at himself and says I am a woman, we are to applaud and say how brave he is? Lets be honest, the gay and lesbian culture is one of lies and deception that hinges on all of society seeing the "emperors new cloths". They are no different than the alcoholic or drug addict, they need our sympathy and support, not being told how normal they are.

A picture of 2 of the biggest, brain-dead pols in the state. Can anyone else see the slime oozing off them? I just get the heebie-jeebies.

I am SO TIRED of this perpetual whining over Prop. 8 - it's like the 3 year-old begging mom over and over for some junk food. No means NO - what part of that do you not understand?

Go back, retool your demands, change your language (I, personally, would grudgingly accept civil commitments with attendant civil rights; just don't ask me to change my theology to fit your views), and try to get a dialogue going, instead of divisive haranguing. NOBODY listens to a scold.

god help us if this two politicians become governor
i for one will move out of california to arizona or florida or texas i was born in california i can not for see my self see a state that i have work all my life what i have see in the pass 10 years this crooka and liars what they done to california i am a liberal but not this kind of liberal this politicians are crooks to the bone

duxbell: Don't ask me to change my theology to fit your views, either.

The mayors look to pull off another "Obama-like" appeal for votes and money, then...

The game of run to the courts, run to the legislature, see if I sign a bill, run to people...

No one with principle is left standing, just pointing to another forum. Like Obama's DOJ spokesperson: "Just doin' my job." "Sorry we can't help you now." "Vote for us next time." "Keep electing us, we'll get this right eventually."

prop 8 supporter won isn't it?
whats the issue?
the two mayors are just trying to get some vote from LGBT.
they should realized that they are being used by them.

This weekend, the LGBT community celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall riots in New York that sparked the fight for equality for LGBT Americans. 40 years ago, closets were where gay people lived; now they are just for clothes. If you had told someone 40 years ago that the main issue would be same sex marriage, and that the LAPD and the mayors of both LA and SF would be riding in and being cheered in the parade, they'd have thought you must be from an alternate universe. That gay marriage will eventually be won is unquestionable, because it is only fair and is the right thing to do. Theology has nothing to do with it, no one is asking any religious body for anything. All we are asking is for is a totally secular civil matter, a matter only of State, not of Church.

The Justice Department should withdraw that brief.

As for my family and I, We will NEVER again vote for viragosa.

The first few comments are like a gaggle of dimwits jumped in line! This one:
"I, personally, would grudgingly accept civil commitments with attendant civil rights; just don't ask me to change my theology to fit your views" ...as apposed to someone having to adjust their lives to fit your personal view of theology? Yeah right.

Once again a group of voices that have no courage, character, honesty or intelligence. A group that we will never see sacrificing for there own ideas, becouse they'd picked them the same way they pick their food at a buffet line. If they had rolled out on a Toyota assembly line instead of being born, quality control would have tossed them in the scrap heap.

Prop 8 was un-American, like most evangelicals that supported it and DOMA is a joke especially if you watched "Who wants to marry a millionaire"

Anyone who thinks you can subvert a minority and have that be the end of it is an idiot.

All the Gay, Lesbian, Bi-sexuals, Tri-sexuals, etc.,want is for any person to marry any other person. So why not take this argument to its next logical step and let: 1st cousins marry, children marry adults, children marry children, and while we're at it lets allow peligamy. Why isn't this community speaking up for those that want to practice this type life style? Because even they know that their must be limits in society. Without limits we wouldn't have laws, rules, or even a foundation, we'd have anarchy. Marriage is between a man and a woman, period. We can not, and will not, live in a society that believes if it feels good it can't be wrong. Homosexual "marriage" is wrong, period.

Those two chumps need to leave this state post haste!!

I'm am SICK and TIRED of the GAY agenda being forced down our throats!!

The people have spoken by way of voting FOR Proposition 8.....
honor the law NOW!!

Wordcutter: homosexuality is not normal.

Sorry to stereotype, but I'll have to assume that you're a Bible-wielding GED-awarded southerner born from incest.

Yes, it sounds very mean and hateful, but only someone that has been biologically corrupted of below-average intelligence can claim that homosexuality is not normal when it occurs in over 1500 species that exist on this planet.

I mean, seriously... 1500 animals and yet you say it's not normal.

Please never take any medicine ever again, never visit hospital, never seek the help of modern science because how hypocritical is it to believe that Science can tell you what can make you better, but when it tells you homosexuality is normal, you turn a blind, ignorant eye to it?

Freedom of Religion, I wholeheartedly agree with that as well as
Freedom from Religious Tyranny. ~_~

The Mayor if Los Angeles is confused. How come he has time to campaign for gay pride but rarely, if ever, campaigns for immigration reform? Let Newsom handle Northern CA and let the Mayor of Los Angeles handle the voters of LA that entrusted the mantle of Immigration to him. We are now, all of us, starting to say that we were misled into thinking Tony was the man we thought he would be. We wanted to believe, so hard that we were blinded by our own hope that we i LA would see a better day. The Mayor of LA has simply lost his way. We are all coming to the sad realization that we all fell for with the "image" of Villaraigosa and not the character of the man. People Magazine has has image down, the rest of us, the parents, the schools, the labor force, got thrown the leftovers.

Dear deluded Weeza. Cancer happens in every species and is considered a normal fact of life as do hundreds of other birth defects. Are they desirable, of course not. Your need to hurl slurs about someone without dealing with the real issue shows who is lacking in basic mental abilities. If you use the word normal in its broadest stroke then yes homosexuality is normal. But so is Downs Syndrome, normal as it affects every race on the planet. Yet is is classified as a birth defect as are hundreds of others. How do you deal with the issue of anorexia nervosa/belimua? How different are these women than a gay man or woman? What is the difference in their mental pictures and why does the gay community feel that these women are in need of mental health and they are not? Calm yourself and address that issue, and if you cant then perhaps you need to look a little closer at the party line.

Weeza and the gang.. Did you hear one mention in my post about the Bible, religion, society, right or wrong? Did you hear me say that the gay community somehow is immoral or lacking in social standing? No. Please put aside your social agenda and look at the issue here, stop denying the reality of what you are saying and look deep into what you know is right. There is something wrong with you and like any substance abuser or gambler or abuser, until you do the whole earth is wrong and you are the only one who knows the truth. Let society help you, let society give you the support you need, but until you admit you have a problem, you will get nothing but heartache and grief.

Both Newsom and Villaraigosa are opportunists of the worst kind. Both came to gay advocacy late and both are going to milk (sorry Harvey) it for all is worth. Neither of these guys were ever in the forefront of the Gay Movement. Where is Willie Brown. Brown wrote and got enacted into law the "Consenting Adults Act" in the early 70's which made same sex relationships legal. Both of these Mayors have lousy ethics. Newsom slept with his campaign managers wife and Villaraigosa slept with every female but his wife. Both have been humiliated publicly for their lack of personal ethics.
Both want to run for Governor. I have often wondered why the Gay community has so few national spokespersons of color. They demonize the Latino and black community as being homophobic, yet the racie issues within the Gay community are far from being resolved in an equitable way. No one challenges the Gay community on their position affiirmative action, equal work for equal pay, fair employment and housing. Where were gays on the whole internment issue or the current immigration issues. Do gays advocate for anybody else's civil rights???? when and where???

I find this demand on the President at this point in time ill thought out. And, please don't one person say if this was black folks...get out a history book and read how long it took to be even considered human much less obtain equal rights.

I'm a christian straight man with a wife and 4 kids. I do support Gay rights as well as marriage. I am troubled with how impatient that Gay community is with Obama and his policies. You have to realize how much the president has on his plate just six months in. Bushco him with a mess to clean up with Iraq, Afghanistan, the economy etc. DOMA and DADT are not just not major issues right now. I'm sure that he'll get on those once he get's the economy stabilized and Health care fixed. And I do agree that he needs to address the LGBT community soon to hear your concerns. He should stress patience from the Gay community then. I have no doubt that he'll keep his promise. It's just going to take time.

Don't be FOOLED
Gavin Newsom is a cheap opportunist
He had no interest in gay rights prior to the marriiage issue
He's just trying to ride it to the Governor's Mansion

Newsom is an incompetent opportunist who has accomplished NOTHING for San Francisco

He put his best friend's wife on the SF payroll until he was done bonking her
Then he got her disability payments from the city
His 'Best Friend's wife' !!

Just say no to Gavin

Jerry Brown is looking better and better

Next time, don't let your vote be taken for granted. There is always the Green Party (left of center) and the Libertarian Party (right of center). If you want equal rights now, move to Canada. More than six decades after the Holocaust, gay Jews have more civil rights in Germany than they do in the US. Obama and his Justice Department ought to be ashamed of themselves.

Homosexuality is not a choice. Just like you don't choose the color of your skin, you cannot choose whom you are sexually attracted to. If you can, sorry, but you are not heterosexual, you are bi-sexual. Virtually all major psychological and medical experts agree that sexual orientation is NOT a choice. Most gay people will tell you its not a choice. Common sense will tell you its not a choice. While science is relatively new to studying homosexuality, studies tend to indicate that its biological.

Gay, Straight Men's Brain Responses Differ

There is overwhelming scientific evidence that homosexuality is not a choice. Sexual orientation is generally a biological trait that is determined pre-natally, although there is no one certain thing that explains all of the cases. "Nurture" may have some effect, but for the most part it is biological.

And it should also be noted that:
"It is worth noting that many medical and scientific organisations do believe it is impossible to change a person's sexual orientation and this is displayed in a statement by American Academy of Pediatrics, American Counseling Association, American Association of School Administrators, American Federation of Teachers, American Psychiatric Association, American Psychological Association, American School Health Association, Interfaith Alliance Foundation, National Association of School Psychologists, National Association of Social Workers, and National Education Association."

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