Editor’s Note: The following article appeared in The American Spectator.
In an unexpected move (particularly in the midst of the Libyan crisis), President Obama signaled yesterday that he thinks the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional, and he has instructed Attorney General Eric Holder and the Justice Department (DOJ) to cease defending cases brought against DOMA. The wording of this surprise announcement suggests that the decision is another instance of this president’s politicizing the administration of justice: the White House ordering the Justice Department what it should do in order to appeal to the extreme elements of its political base. So much for Obama’s pivot to the middle, not that there was much doubt about that after his kowtowing to the unions in the Wisconsin inbroglio.
The president declared that Section 3 of DOMA (the part that prohibits the federal government from recognizing same-sex “marriages”) “violates the equal protection component” of the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution. This is the president’s latest bow to “gay” rights activists and his latest move out of mainstream values over to far-left policies that undermine the nation’s foundations and social structure. This is but the president’s latest move to disregard the laws of this country; he has repeatedly put his radical ideology and personal preferences ahead of the expressed will of the nation’s citizens. He seems determined to shape America into his image, regardless of what voters want or what the Constitution and national laws state.
DOMA clearly specifies the accepted national definition of marriage as for one man and one woman and protects individual states from being forced to recognize same-sex “marriages” performed in other states. In the past, the Department of Justice has routinely defended laws with which any given administration may disagree; that past practice makes the current decision even more offensive. In effect, our constitutional law professor-in-chief has decreed – based on his superior knowledge, and without the benefit of hearing any counter arguments – that there is “no reasonable defense” of DOMA and that the law is, by its very nature, “discriminatory.”
The decision affects two suits in Massachusetts- Gill et. al. v. Office of Personnel Management and Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. United States Department of Health and Human Services. In both cases, the plaintiffs questioned the constitutionality of the definition of marriage being reserved to a legal union between a man and a woman. To add “insult to injury” in presenting the president’s action, Holder told House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) that Congress’ action in passing DOMA implies “moral disapproval of gays and lesbians and their intimate and family relationships.” Further, Holder added that this kind of “stereotypical-based [sic] thinking and animus” is exactly why the Equal Protection Clause exists.
In the past, President Obama has not acted on his rhetorical support for the repeal of DOMA, a stance that was unpopular with his liberal base. Now, like the activist liberal judges, he is totally ignoring the damage to the standing of the courts by defying the will of the people regarding the nature of marriage (voters booted three Iowa State Supreme Court justices out of office in 2010 for tampering with the definition of marriage). In many respects, the president’s action is a full-employment act for self-identified homosexual lawyers, because the law is still on the books and the president just took the Justice Department attorneys off the case.
There is reason to conclude that the president acted now, before the 2012 election and while he has federal Supreme Court justices who will back his opinion on the issue of so-called same-sex “marriage,” because the unrest both nationally (Wisconsin and Indiana) and internationally (Egypt and Libya) will take the media headlines and he can “get away with” the decision no longer to defend DOMA in court because it will be “below the fold” in the nation’s newspapers.
While the president’s action does not mean that DOMA is illegal, it does mean that the president has decided to trade in his claim to be post-partisan in order to become a general in the culture war’s assault on traditional values. Also, at a time when the nation is buried under a mountain of debt and deficits are at oxygen-depriving heights, this decision begs the action of “following the money.” At stake are numerous (some say thousands) of benefits that are limited to married couples. The government has a vested interest in encouraging marriage and the establishment of families to protect and nurture children and, thus, provide for the nation’s future. It does not have a similar vested interest in encouraging same-sex sexual relationships which are high-risk, dysfunctional, and entail consequences that, ultimately, are a drain on both the national treasury and the nation’s social infrastructure.
While the president should be working to reverse unemployment and curb spending, he is, instead, working to give short-term same-sex alliances the dignity of the “marriage” label, thus entitling those in temporary same-sex sexual relationships to taxpayer funding.