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Barney Frank calls Justice Scalia a homophobe -- video here

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Democrat Barney Frank of Massachusetts is usually in the news talking about the banking crisis, those obscene AIG bonuses or some aspect of an economic meltdown that has put him at the center of epic congressional battles over bailouts, stimulus plans and government incentives.

Long a target of Fox News' Bill O'Reilly for his role in abetting the collapse of Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac, Frank, chairman of the much-in-the-news House Financial Services Committee, has a full plate of headline-inducing responsibilities.

But Frank, the first openly gay member of Congress, recently gave an interview to a gay website, www.365gay.com, in which he took on a different foe. Asked about the Defense of Marriage Act -- which bans gay marriage -- Frank said he hopes the law is not appealed to the Supreme Court right now because Justice Antonin Scalia is a "homophobe" with too many allies on the court to risk a judicial challenge.

"I wouldn't want it to go to the United States Supreme Court now because that homophobe Antonin Scalia has too many votes on this current court," Frank said.

In a 2003 Texas case that overturned the nation's consensual sodomy laws, Scalia wrote a dissent, saying the majority's ruling represented "a massive disruption of the current social order."

The text of the Defense of Marriage Act, passed by Congress in 1996, is below. And here's the video.



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Photo: Associated Press

Defense of Marriage Act ... H.R.3396 ... Jan. 3, 1996

An Act to define and protect the institution of marriage.

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the `Defense of Marriage Act'.
SEC. 2. POWERS RESERVED TO THE STATES.

(a) IN GENERAL-- Chapter 115 of title 28, United States Code, is amended by adding after section 1738B the following:
"Sec. 1738C. Certain acts, records, and proceedings and the effect thereof

"No State, territory, or possession of the United States, or Indian tribe, shall be required to give effect to any public act, record, or judicial proceeding of any other State, territory, possession, or tribe respecting a relationship between persons of the same sex that is treated as a marriage under the laws of such other State, territory, possession, or tribe, or a right or claim arising from such relationship."
(b) CLERICAL AMENDMENT -- The table of sections at the beginning of chapter 115 of title 28, United States Code, is amended by inserting after the item relating to section 1738B the following new item:
"1738C. Certain acts, records, and proceedings and the effect thereof."
SEC. 3. DEFINITION OF MARRIAGE.

(a) IN GENERAL-- Chapter 1 of title 1, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:
"Sec. 7. Definition of 'marriage' and 'spouse'

"In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the United States, the word 'marriage' means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word 'spouse' refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife."
(b) CLERICAL AMENDMENT-- The table of sections at the beginning of chapter 1 of title 1, United States Code, is amended by inserting after the item relating to section 6 the following new item:
"7. Definition of 'marriage' and 'spouse.'

 
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You say, "Asked about the Defense of Marriage Act -- which bans gay marriage..." That at best stretches the truth and at worse, is completely incorrect. The Defense of Marriage Act does not require states to recognize other states' same-sex marriages. It also states that in federal legislation, marriage is defined as between one man and one woman. It's a bit disingenuous to say it "bans gay marriage."
I would frame the main challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act under the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the Constitution, because the Act essentially says that states don't have to recognize the acts of other states' officials (marriages).


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A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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