Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

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)

Gavin Newsom should focus on cleaning up the mess he has created in San Francisco and leave the running of the country to adults. San Francisco is falling apart and he is all over the country and state mugging for the TV cameras and collecting campaign contributions. Please, Please CA voters read our SF Civil Grand Jury report on Newsom's performance measures, accountability, and transparency before you support, give campaign contributions or God forbid, vote for Mayor Newsom:


You are correct, in most cases it is NOT a choice, but neither is Downs or alcoholism or Muscular dystrophy or Turner syndrome or hundreds of others listed by the March of Dimes. What about anorexia nervosa/belimua is it a choice? Tell me how their body perception is different from a gay man or woman? Would you encourage them to accept who they are and kill themselves in doing it? No, you as a responsible person suggest they receive help. Do they think they are normal, of course they do and reject all of your help and advise. How is this different from the body and emotional issues voiced by gays? If you can answer that one then we have a place where most rational people would agree.

Wordcutter... You talk in circles' that is the first clue you are religious or the amoral product of religion. Cancer is absolutely a normal condition in humans so is Downs Syndrome, left-handedness, blue eyes, red hair... That's not what people mean when they say homosexuality is "normal" ...but you knew that, another clue that you are religious or the amoral product of religion. Have you tried banning left-handed or Downs people from getting married lately? Your types "agenda," to a lot of us, has been clear for years and now the main stream is seeing you for the ilk you really are.

Does anyone not realize that everything is a political move for this guy. He has no soul he will do whatever it is to get votes just as he did after his middle east speech he used buchenwald camp to get back the Jewish vote, MY VOTE. It was disgusting and one of my most notable fellow jews fell for it as did most people around me. The Gay community has been duped too but hopefully they wont stand for whatever he does to try to win them back.....his missteps are becoming more egregious by the day

It's one thing to say that President Obama is waiting for Congress to repeal DOMA it's another for him to actively lobby Congress to do so, which he has not done. So does he really want it repealed or does his mouth pieces throw it out there hoping nobody hears them?

Wordcutter: There's a problem with your logic. All those other things you mentioned are diseases. Homosexuality is not a disease, it is a sexual orientation, and if you think sexual orientation is a disease, then i guess we're all diseases by your logic. Also, those things you mentioned are harmful, whereas homosexuality is not harmful in anyway. Also, just because something is not in the "norm" or "majority" (blue-eyed people, left handed people, blacks in America) doesn't mean it's wrong. Try again :)

The arguments against same sex marriage are religious and based on the religious morals taught to us whether we liked it or not. I had to be a Roman Catholic before I became an atheist, nobody asked me anything I had to be baptized. Take the gossip column (scriptures) away from the Christians and they're out of arguments. The worst year in history is AD 325 when the Christians took power and 175 years later the Roman emperor became the bishop of Rome who later became the pope. Good luck to the Christians State of California they can start dealing and learn some tricks from the Islamic state of Iran. Religious people and politicians make sick.

"It's wrong to have millions of Americans living as SECOND-CLASS CITIZENS in this nation. And I ASK FOR YOUR SUPPORT IN THIS ELECTION so that together we can bring about real change for all LGBT Americans.
I WILL NEVER COMPROMISE ON MY COMMITMENT TO EQUAL RIGHTS FOR ALL LGBT AMERICANS. As your President, I WILL USE THE BULLY PULPIT to urge states to treat same-sex couples with full equality in their family and adoption laws.
I support the complete repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Federal law should not discriminate in any way against gay and lesbian couples, which is precisely what DOMA does. Americans are YEARNING FOR LEADERSHIP that can empower us to reach for what we know is possible.
I believe that we can achieve the goal of full equality for the millions of LGBT people in this country. To do that, WE NEED LEADERSHIP that can appeal to the best parts of the human spirit. JOIN WITH ME, AND I WILL PROVIDE THAT LEADERSHIP. Together, we will achieve real equality for all Americans, gay and straight alike." -- Barack Obama (February 2008)

OK President Obama, I held up my end of the bargain and voted for you on this one single statement and promise ... the silence from the White House has become defeafening.

"In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends." -- Martin Luther King Jr.

I see you too will not answer a simple question, how is the young woman with anorexia nervosa/belimua different than a gay man or woman? Please, please tell me how they are different. All of them look at themselves and see something no one else does. They all believe to there very souls there is nothing wrong with them. would you encourage the young woman to continue on in her brave heroic quest to defend her self image, or would you try to persuade her to seek help? Please tell me the difference between yourself and that young woman.

Dear Michael,

Your comment seems so “reasoned”, so “logical”. When using words like “therefore”, it is essential that the conclusion be supported by the arguments. So let’s take a look.

Your suggestion that only 10% of gays marry where it is legal is off the mark. In the Netherlands, for example, the percentage of gay marriages is around 2% of the TOTAL number of marriages performed. If we assume a gay population of 3%, then gays are getting married at a rate identical to that of straights (based on your data that two-thirds of straights marry).

So, only two percent of the American population has a need for a change to the marriage laws. It sounds so trivial, doesn’t it? So let’s outlaw guns used for hunting, since the percentage of hunters in America has dwindled from 7.4 down to 4.1 in only 25 years. Soon, their numbers will be down to TWO PERCENT ! Those gun-owning hunters are certainly vociferous about defending their right to have firearms -- they must have some kind of “HIDDEN AGENDA” !!

Each of your arguments marked 1), 2), etc, are nothing more than opinion and conjecture (somewhat paranoid, at that) disguised as reason.

1) “There’s something about opposite sexes having a much more natural desire to marry …….” -- based on incorrect ‘facts’.

“Americans intuitively recognize that same-sex unions vis-à-vis opposite sex unions are inherently unequal” -- one man’s opinion.

2) “The issue of marriage is not the real driving force ……” -- Paranoia strikes deep, dude.

3) EJ is addressing the semantics, and recognizing that many straights (I’m one, by the way) claim a certain exclusivity when it comes to the word “marriage”., meaning real change will require defeat of a tyrannical majority. He appears willing to “go along to get along”. He’s free to make that choice. The reality, unfortunately, is that many states severely limit the civil rights of gay partners.

4) “Gays are insecure about their own morality”. -- WTF?

5) “Will the No on Prop 8 advocates describe the harm to gays because their social contract is called a ‘civil union’”? -- We just might agree on this one. Straights with no intention of producing children can be married in government offices. So can atheists.. It would appear that neither procreation nor belief in (a) god are prerequisites for the government to sanction a marriage, or civil union, or a social contract, or whatever you want to call it. In fact, our constitution bars discrimination on those grounds. Not long ago, mixed-race couples could be barred from entering into a marriage contract. Fortunately, that ugly remnant of another time is behind us.

Government offices perform a strictly legal civil procedure, nothing more. Churches also perform marriages, but they are not legal unless recorded by the government. A church is free to decide which unions it will bless, but our government, as dictated by the constitutional separation of church and state, does not (should not) have that choice. Because of wide discrepancies from state to state regarding what rights are granted in a civil union contract, there is a clear need for a federal law that provides absolute equality under the law in all fifty states for consenting adults who wish to “marry”, or “unite”, “tie the knot”, or whatever you want to call it.

Obama defends DOMA and in doing so supports the dogma that homosexuality is comparable to incest. Mr. Obama you are a true defender of equality. Sigh.


Even though your comments were not directed towards me, I feel the need to point out how ridiculous your analogy is.

1.)A female with an eating disorder has a psychological disorder that threatens her physical health and well-being.

2.) A homosexual does not suffer from a psychological disorder that threatens his/her physical health and well-being.(Provided he/she has safe sex but that rule applies to us heterosexuals as wel.)

That IS how they are different!l

"Congress SHALL MAKE NO LAW...establishing religion." One man plus one woman equals marriage is a religious concept shared by a majority of people. All laws under the purview of the United States Constitution are required to be religiously neutral and gender non-specific. Whether you are a born again christian fundamentalist or a wild-eyed left wing communist isn't the issue. The issue is are you an American or not? If you think it is okay for the US government to grant rights to a majority of the people, then withhold those same rights from a minority of the people, then you are not an American. If you think your fundamental rights are subject to a plebiscite, then you are not an American. Why? Because the US Constitution says so, that's why. Obama would be well advised to remember that rights deferred are rights denied.

Wordcutter: Lol are you serious? Anorexia nervosa/belimua is a eating disorder that's harmful while homosexuality is a sexual orientation dealing with sexual attraction that's not harmful.

"Please tell me the difference between yourself and that young woman."

Easy, i'm a man, she's a women. Got any other questions to attempt to cover up your bigotry? =)

All I can say is that I hope this ridiculous flip flopping on the issue of homosexuality is represented fully in history texts in years to come. Obama deserves this stain on his legacy, that he manipulated the LGBT population and its supporters and then turned around to fight against those who once supported him. Even if he ultimately does something in favor of LGBT rights, his flimsy character needs to be given a spot in history.

« | 1 2 3


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...


About L.A. Now
L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
Have a story tip for L.A. Now?
Please send to newstips@latimes.com
Can I call someone with news?
Yes. The city desk number is (213) 237-7847.


Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: