obama’s relationship with lgbt movement

I checked the NYTimes today to see a leak from his office that he would be announcing benefits for federal employees. The details weren’t clear – and it was pretty clear that health insurance would not be included. But still, I got a warm fuzzy feeling. Then I received a note from HRC about Obama’s amicus brief in support of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Turns out the Obama folks rushed through this benefits plan and leaked it to deflect heat from what is, in my opinion a pretty heinous legal defense of DOMA. In fact, it reads like a Bush administration document. Some gems (stolen from the HRC):

The state should foster “traditional” marriage:

Because all 50 States recognize hetero-sexual marriage, it was reasonable and rational for Congress to maintain its longstanding policy of fostering this traditional and universally-recognized form of marriage.

DOMA is neutral, not discriminatory!:

[DOMA amounts to] a cautious policy of federal neutrality towards a new form of marriage.

DOMA saves money:

It is therefore permitted to maintain the unique privileges [the government] has afforded to [different-sex marriages] without immediately extending the same privileges, and scarce government resources, to new forms of marriage that States have only recently begun to recognize.

Citizens don’t have to pay for gay people:

DOMA maintains federal policies that have long sought to promote the traditional and uniformly-recognized form of marriage, recognizes the right of each State to expand the traditional definition if it so chooses, but declines to obligate federal taxpayers in other States to subsidize a form of marriage that their own states do not recognize.

The denial of marriage is not discriminatory:

DOMA does not discriminate against homosexuals in the provision of federal benefits…. Section 3 of DOMA does not distinguish among persons of different sexual orientations, but rather it limits federal benefits to those who have entered into the traditional form of marriage.

Gay marriage has the same standing as incest:

And the courts have widely held that certain marriages, performed elsewhere need not be given effect, because they conflicted with the public policy of the forum.  See e.g., Catalano v. Catalano, 170 A.2d 726, 728-29 (Conn. 1961) (marriage of uncle to niece, though valid in Italy under its laws, was not valid in Connecticut because it contravened public policy of th[at] state.”

Thanks Obama.

4 thoughts on “obama’s relationship with lgbt movement”

  1. Outrageous! Even if health insurance were to be included it is not equal. Partner coverage is not the same as spouse coverage. Partner benefits are taxed, while spouse benefits are not.


    1. Sure. As for the brief, the DOJ certainly didn’t need to put it in these terms. It would have been simple enough to argue the narrow merits of the constitutional point: the Federal Government has the right to define whether and if so how it will recognize state laws on marriage. I disagree on this point too but its defensible. But they went well beyond that.


  2. The Democratic Party, with the exception of a few particular politicians, has never been a real supporter of the LGBT community, let alone the movement. I will make a Grand Prediction that this will change, especially given the shifts in public opinion over this issue–maybe even as soon as an Obama 2nd term, but I doubt sooner than that.

    Check out this cool graph of opinions by state, and corresponding legislation supportive of LGBT rights on Andrew Gelman’s blog. It’s from a paper by political scientists Jeff Lax and Justin Phillips.


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