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Obama's Justice Department in knots over gay marriage case

Two women kiss during the annual Gay Pride in Paris, Saturday June 27, 2009 where thousands of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders marched to demand equal rights

The Obama Justice Department acknowledged today for the first time that laws meant to preclude gay marriage are, simply put, wrong.

In a brief filed this morning in the case of a gay couple suing the federal government for the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act that prohibits gay marriage, the Justice Department said:

This administration does not support DOMA as a matter of policy, believes that it is discriminatory, and supports its repeal.

That is a departure, for sure, from the George W. Bush administration but the bottom line is the same. Because DOMA is federal law, the Justice Department is sworn to defend it. So, in the second half of its brief this morning, the government lawyers said:

Consistent with the rule of law, however, the Department of Justice has long followed the practice of defending federal statutes as long as reasonable arguments can be made in support of their constitutionality, even if the Department disagrees with a particular statute as a policy matter, as it does here.

When word first leaked in June that DOJ was planning to defend DOMA, gay rights activists were furious. Amid the outcry, the Justice Department has now toned down its defense, publicly noting its view that the law discriminates against gay Americans.

Still, the White House is bracing for political brush back from Democrats -- such as California gubernatorial candidate and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom -- who might argue the Justice Department stance is too wimpy. So President Obama himself issued a statement this morning, saying:

Today, the Department of Justice has filed a response to a legal challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act, as it traditionally does when acts of Congress are challenged. This brief makes clear, however, that my Administration believes that the Act is discriminatory and should be repealed by Congress. I have long held that DOMA prevents LGBT couples from being granted equal rights and benefits. While we work with Congress to repeal DOMA, my Administration will continue to examine and implement measures that will help extend rights and benefits to LGBT couples under existing law.

-- Johanna Neuman

Photo: Two women kiss during annual Gay Pride activities in Paris in June. Credit: Associated Press

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Comments () | Archives (14)

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I am a lifelong Democrat,but contrary to the Administration and the columnist,it is laws that treat same-sex sexual relationships as if they were of as much worth to society as opposite-sex ones that are "simply put,wrong".Being snookered by the false-analogy arguments of the homosexual lobby is the party's biggest blunder of my lifetime.

Laws against doing something can't be treated as "discrimination" against a class of people defined by wanting to do that thing,or all authority to regulate conduct evaporates.LONG LIVE DOMA!!

Reasonable arguments ?

Ok...Fair enough...

But how is it reasonable or even logical to compare same sex marriage to incest and/or beastiality ?

Also, on a side note, about 2 weeks ago, I signed a petition to put an end to a law in florida that allows for beastiality and this in spite of the fact that florida doesnt allow gay marriage....

Kinda throws a monkeywrench in the homosexuality/beastiality argument dont it ?

If you won't let me get married and enjoy equal benefits from the government, then I should not pay the same taxes others pay. They pay and receive marriage benefits (over 1100 that I don't actually...look it up)...so why should I and the rest of the GLBT tax-paying community pay and not receive? Answer - we shouldn't. Sorry folks, can't repress us and enjoy our $ at the same time.

LGBT folks aren't "a class of people defined by wanting to do [a certain something]". I know that many heteros don't like it, but the comparison between heterosexuality and homosexuality/bisexuality is valid, because they're both sexual orientations (unlike bestiality and pedophilia, etc., which are paraphilias). Sexual orientation isn't defined by behavior, but rather by emotional and sexual attraction, that may or may not manifest behaviorally. "Worth to society" is neither relevant when the question is about fulfillment and acknowledgement and respect of a deeply rooted human need of forming enduring relationships, nor is it a value judgement that anyone can make about anyone else's personal relationships.

Don't know how being lgbt always brings beastiality and incest to the minds of bigots, racists or bible thumping imbiciles. Incest is still prevalent and condoned in the South (where it was invented lol). Beastiality is just something that preoccupies the mind of a twisted individual. I am GAY and PROUD. Niether beastiality or incest appeals to me. So your wrong AGAIN!! Long Live LGBT Pride!!

Every Christian that voted for the change that Obama as going to bring to America should be on their knees before the Almighty God asking for forgiveness for hat they helped bring upon this country.

The abortion president is no the gay activism president. He will bring judgement upon this country in ways not seen before.

God has been patient long enough and judgement will ring loud and clear.

Thank you to all who foolishly voted for Obama the destroyer. A man ho is bringing devistation and division to the peoples of this country.

Finally!!!

I want to know how gays are being discrimminated against by the traditional definition of marriage being between a man and a woman?

The reason is that as a divorcee, whatever discrimmination gays are facing for not being married, is something I am experiencing as well. Because I am not married either. So, how am I being discrimminated against for not being married?

Of what rights am I being deprived? Nowhere in the Constitution does it say that marriage is a right. However there is considerable documentation that all of our founding documents show great deference to Cicero's "Natural Law", which recognizes traditional marriage as being between a man and a woman.

Best regards,
Gail S
http://backyardfence.wordpress.com

Well, Gail, you are not being discriminated against simply because of your status as a single person. Heck, a vast portion of society is not married. Yet, folks such as yourselves are depriving others of the CHANCE to be married. To draw a parallel there have always been a great deal of men who do not vote in elections (ie like your choice not to be married). They themselves were not being discriminated against simply because they were not voting. Women at the beginning of the 20th century, however, were discriminated against because they were denied the OPPORTUNITY to vote. Same goes for gays and lesbians in committed, monogamous relationships wanting the state to recognize the love they share.

I have been with my partner for years. We go through the same emotional highs, lows, and in-betweens as any other couple. Our 14th Constitutional Amendment guarantees each and every citizen, whether they be gay, straight, or lesbian, equal protection of the laws. Gail, I am being discriminated against because my state tells you that it is OK for you to marry the person you love, but it tells me that my relationship means nothing. My state tells me I have to pay higher taxes, that if my partner is in the hospital I have no right to see him, and that we cannot adopt children. It tells me that my relationship means less than yours. That, Gail, is why gays and lesbians feel discriminated against.

Duh! Of course this is a simple case of discrimination! DOMA must go!
JKS

Of course denying gays the right to marry is discrimination! How else can anyone see it? This is simply a matter of civil rights! The opposition offers no defendable answers tghat I can see! How about you?
Jeff Sterling

well besides being wrong with health care he is now against law that well over 60% belive in. this guy has no shame and in 2012 the nightmare will be over, if he loses any part of congress and america is not bankrupt then his final 2yrs will be behind closed doors and the teleprompters silenced. i wish they would do a poll and the question should be "are you tired of seeing this guy on tv every night". since he rarely talks without a teleprompter can he just mail it in with out his face. lol

Gay or Homosexual militancy is on the rise across the United States. Emboldened by narrow voting margins showing the country has been only slightly opposed to their lifestyle and National headlines whenever they take cities, states, fraternal orgs etc. to court, the LGBT folks have found that they can bend public opinion. Americans, who stand behind personal privacy have pretty much allowed the LGBT agenda certain leeway. Fortunately, a majority of Americans won't put up with having anyone's agenda forced down their throats. LGBT's would be better off if they just climbed back in the closet as their militancy will ultimately cost them in the court of public opinion.

" 'Worth to society' is neither relevant when the question is about fulfillment and acknowledgement and respect of a deeply rooted human need of forming enduring relationships, nor is it a value judgement that anyone can make about anyone else's personal relationships."

Hear, hear! Disgusting as it is, the American Taliban thinks their "moral" values should trump everyone else. They want to dictate how everybody lives yet in another breath they will assert that God gave us all free will. Well if God wants us all to exercise free will, then why do they try to keep people from making decisions (like marriage) that do not affect them? Can you say "hypocrisy?"

I've done a few vlogs about this very topic. Of course the "Christians" try to censor them: http://www.youtube.com/user/ChristineOutspoken


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About the Columnist
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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