Wednesday, February 23, 2011
A Little Rainbow Amidst A Hateful Sky...
Today the Obama administration said it will no longer defend the constitutionality of a federal law banning recognition of same-sex marriage. The Justice Department had defended the act in court until now.
Attorney General Eric Holder said President Obama concluded that the administration cannot defend the federal law that defines marriage as only between a man and a woman. He noted that the congressional debate during passage of the Defense of Marriage Act "contains numerous expressions reflecting moral disapproval of gays and lesbians and their intimate and family relationshipsprecisely the kind of stereotype-based thinking and animus" the Constitution is designed to guard against.
Holder also said the department will immediately bring the policy change to the attention of two federal courts now hearing separate lawsuits targeting the Defense of Marriage Act.
As expected, the president's decision met with swift criticism from Republicans, with House Speaker John Boehner saying, "While Americans want Washington to focus on creating jobs and cutting spending, the president will have to explain why he thinks now is the appropriate time to stir up a controversial issue that sharply divides the nation."
And the hatred keeps on coming. The blog Towleroad has a roundup of many conservative reactions to Obama's labeling DOMA unconstitutional.
Additionally, Lawrence O'Donnell calls out FOX News' Monica Crowley for her calling the president "Mubarak Obama," comparing his actions to the Libyan dictator.
While this is a major step forward for the Obama administration, it doesn't automatically allow same-sex marriage. And there are a number of states which, in the past few weeks, have passed laws to ban same-sex marriage, recognition of these marriages in other states and, in Montana, legislation that would prohibit cities from creating non-discrimination statutes to protect LGBT citizens.
So, the sky is still fairly dark, but there is occasional light through the clouds. The anti-gay, anti-equality rhetoric is sure to increase to a fever pitch as candidates begin jostling for the 2012 elections. Ugh.