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Gibbs Ducks DOMA Question

Jim Burroway

May 19th, 2009
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When Barack Obama was running to capture the democratic nomination, he separated himself from the rest of the pack on gay rights with his stance on supporting the full repeal of the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act.” His main rival, then Sen. Hillary Clinton, only supported a partial repeal. She wanted to keep the provision that allowed states to refuse to recognize marriages performed in other states. Obama’s position, in contrast, was the clearest and most straightforward: repeal the whole thing.

What a difference a year makes. When asked by Advocate reporter Kerry Eleveld about the administrations plans to repeal DOMA, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs essentially refused to answer.

When Obama took office, the new White House web site included Obama’s pledge to fully repeal DOMA as one of his eight principal components to his LGBT Civil Rights agenda. His web site today contains no mention of DOMA whatsoever. Meanwhile four (and soon five) states have made marriage equality a part of their laws. These historic events continue to go virtually unnoticed by this White House.

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steve
May 19th, 2009 | LINK

THIS IS UNEXCEPTABLE!!!!!

Anti-hypocrite
May 19th, 2009 | LINK

In all fairness, when he promised to repeal DOMA, Obama misspoke. What he meant to say was, “Shut up and send more money, fa**ots.”

Priya Lynn
May 19th, 2009 | LINK

Hypocrite prefers Bush who would have not only done nothing about the “Defense” of Marriage Act but after several more states passed equal marriage would have tried to enacte a federal constitutional amendment preventing equal marriage – what a hypocrite.

Anti-hypocrite
May 19th, 2009 | LINK

Poor Priya, so unable to think outside her dull little binary box that she assumes anyone who criticizes Obama must have preferred Bush.

You’re wrong about that too; I voted third party. But for the record, Bush and Obama have done EXACTLY THE SAME THING about DOMA: a big fat zero.

There’s one difference, though: Republicans are honest about their contempt for us. Dems just fleece us again and again, knowing we have no alternatives.

And why not? There are always willing sheep to make excuses for them.

Priya Lynn
May 19th, 2009 | LINK

Hypocrite, a vote for third party was a vote for Bush. You’re not fooling anyone. You preferred the guy who not only would have done nothing about the “Defense” of Marriage act, but who would have put in place a federal anti-marriage amendment.

Anti-hypocrite
May 19th, 2009 | LINK

Priya, I’m amazed at your insight, knowing what’s in my heart and what I really “prefer.” The last person to tell me that was a conservative Christian who “knew” that deep down, I really “preferred” the opposite sex.

It was astonishingly arrogant coming from him, and it’s astonishingly arrogant coming from you. Don’t universalize your facile approach to politics to me.

I understand you can’t contest me on the facts. But hey, you catch Obama’s proclamation yesteday recognizing Haitian Flag Day?

Priorities, you know.

Christopher Waldrop
May 19th, 2009 | LINK

Priorities are a big part of it, and, while I’m not trying to defend Obama, I understand where he’s coming from. He’s focused on fixing health care right now, a fight he knows is going to cost a lot of political capital. And if there’s one thing that will revitalize the Republican party right now it’s gay rights. No Republican ever lost an election by being in favor of gay-bashing. When George Bush was tanking in the polls he flip-flopped (sort of) on the issue of same-sex marriage. Having previously written it off as a states’ rights issue, he suddenly felt the need for a Constitutional amendment.

Again, I’m not defending Obama’s silence because I genuinely hoped his administration wouldn’t be business as usual. This kind of crap is the reason I hate politics. In an ideal world a politician could deal with two unrelated problems without worrying that one could be used as a distraction from the other by his or her opponents.

David C.
May 19th, 2009 | LINK

Perhaps this is all about focus on the part of Obama.

It could be (and I have no way of knowing one way or the other) that Obama is focusing intently on getting the country out of the virtual depression we are in now. If he succeeds, he’s golden, and his administration could advance the gay civil-rights agenda dramatically with all the political capital he would then have.

Don’t know of course what Obama has up his sleeve, but I’d say that if he gets his plate clear of economic issues (at least puts in a solid bottom, say,) he will still have to deal with the rest of his problems, namely 2 wars, including one that threatens to spiral out of control to the point where Islamic Radicals trigger the failure of Pakistan (a nuclear power), Iran’s nuclear ambitions, and the smoldering Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

Victory for SSM in the states fundamentally has to be the driver behind DOMA repeal. Therefore, I’d suggest that we continue to push hard at the state level for marriage equality, framing the debate in terms of civil rights. Eventually, enough states will be on board, and others will begin the process of reexamining their anti-SSM constitutional amendments. This kind of leads me to think that ENDA enactment comes before repeal of DADT and DOMA, in that order.

I would also recommend that we direct more resources towards the Democratically-controlled congress and getting it to squeeze the president for more action on the gay civil rights front by introducing legislation on its own.

KZ
May 19th, 2009 | LINK

Maybe Obama’s trying to save money. Repealing DOMA would remove a federal hurdle in legalizing gay marriage. And according to Michael Steele, gay marriage would cost employers tons of money in benefits.

Priya Lynn
May 19th, 2009 | LINK

Hypocrite said “I understand you can’t contest me on the facts.”.

LOL – you haven’t presented any “facts”. All you’ve got is vitriol and insults. You knew the election was between democrats and republicans and your unmitigated attacks on the democratic nominee demonstrates clearly you preferred the republican – take your insincere denials somewhere else.

David C.
May 19th, 2009 | LINK

And the plot thickens…

Seems that if we were looking for a leading indicator of what Obama has in mind for gay civil rights, here it is.

Let’s stop tossing barbs at each other and focus on the widget with a little more productive activism, shall we?

Anti-hypocrite
May 19th, 2009 | LINK

Hey, a few well-reasoned comments got in there in the interim.

So I criticize the Democratic president for breaking clear promises, and the psychic Priya determines I’m actually a Republican.

Remember when McCain dissented from a few areas of Repub orthodoxy and was smeared by Limbaugh, et al, as a RINO?

Is there any functional difference between Priya and Limbaugh in this regard? ‘Cause I’m thiking the lazy, stupid, little-tent “with us or agin’ us” schtick is just as contemptible coming from Dems as it is from Repubs.

Mark F.
May 19th, 2009 | LINK

Obama is obviously way to busy sending money to special interests, running the country into bankruptcy, killing people in foreign countries and making sure the worst Bush era policies continue to actually do anything worthwhile.

Priya Lynn
May 19th, 2009 | LINK

Hypocrite, there’s nothing wrong with criticizing Obama, I’ve done it myself, its your outrageous, overly hostile way of doing it that’s wrong – calling those who prefer Obama to Bush “fa**ots” is going to far. You claim you didn’t prefer Bush to a democratic president – I say that’s a lie. Prove me wrong by stating that you prefer a democratic president over a republican one or fail to do so and demonstrate I was right all along.

Priya Lynn
May 19th, 2009 | LINK

And I might add that Hypocrite originally spelled out the word “fa**ots” in its entirety, it was edited on his behalf to make him look a little less hostile and like spittle was dripping from his mouth.

Anti-hypocrite
May 19th, 2009 | LINK

Wow, are you ever full of yourself. I don’t have to prove anything to you, and I’m not making any blanket statements about parties. However, for the record:

Obama has, to date, been somewhat better than Bush, if for no other reason than he’s apparently stopped gleefully torturing people. He appears better, even while screwing the gays, than the subhuman scum who ran this place for eight years.

Proof enough of my bona fides, comrade Rush?

Priya Lynn
May 19th, 2009 | LINK

Proof that you’re a BS’er. You can’t just come out and simply say that Obama is better than Bush was for gays despite the obvious truth of the matter. In that context obviously you prefer Bush to Obama – the issue in question is not Obama’s position on torture, its his position on LGBT equality. No doubt you’ll continue to lie about and distort his record on that.

Anti-hypocrite
May 19th, 2009 | LINK

It’s a rhetorical device, you tedious woman – overstatement to make a point. I trust the well-read among us recognized that.

Anti-hypocrite
May 19th, 2009 | LINK

I’ll say Obama is better for the gays than Bush when there’s anything to warrant it besides blind faith and partisan hackery. Thus far, there’s not.

Priya Lynn
May 19th, 2009 | LINK

You’ve already seen it, but you’re willfully blind to it because you can’t stand the truth – Obama’s better for LGBTs than Bush was. He opposed the Federal Anti-marriage amendment, while Bush supported it. He signed the U.N. resolution calling for an end to the criminilization of gayness while Bush refused to do so. He opposed Prop 8 in California while Bush supported it. He’s urged the passing of the Matthew Shepard Act while Bush promised to veto it. I’ve pointed these out to you before yet you continue to lie and say there’s no difference between the two. Shame on you, Hypocrite.

And as to your “rhetorical device” – what a pathetic excuse for being outrageously offensive. You disgust me.

Timothy Kincaid
May 19th, 2009 | LINK

And I might add that Hypocrite originally spelled out the word “fa**ots” in its entirety, it was edited on his behalf to make him look a little less hostile and like spittle was dripping from his mouth.

Nope.

It was edited so as to continue to avoid site filters.

Jim Burroway
May 19th, 2009 | LINK

Oh for crying out loud! This is like breaking up a fight on a playground.

If you want to toss in some food for thought — pro or con — then go right ahead. If you want to tear Obama a new one (not each other) because of his administration’s moves or lack thereof, or if you want to defend or explain why you think he’s doing the right thing, that’s fine too.

But this business of hurling insults at each other ends now. You two are taking a timeout on moderation.

Rob Lll
May 19th, 2009 | LINK

I think that David C is right on the money, both in terms of his analysis and the prescriptive measures he suggests. In some areas Obama’s actions have pleased me, in other areas I’m disappointed, but overall I try to keep the big picture in view, and what a huge, complicated mess he has to deal with. Not does he have to clean up after the seemingly endless screw-ups of his predecessor, he’s trying to implement substantial changes in multiple areas, changes which in some cases are decades overdue. The Onion got it right with their post-election headline: “Black Man Given Nation’s Worst Job”.

This is only to put things in a larger perspective, not to let the President off the hook. After all, he did ask for this job. And there does appear to be a pattern of avoidance and tone-deafness regarding GLBT issues. That concerns me and it should be called out, loudly. One lesson I took away from watching conservatives fawn over Shrub over the past 8 years is that you do your cause no favors by becoming a sycophant.

But the salient question is not “What is he going to do about our issues?”, but rather “What are WE going to do about our issues?”. I suggested on this board a few months ago that we should push for ENDA first, then follow up with DADT/DOMA. I still believe this is our best shot. Every poll I’ve seen shows that employment anti-discrimination laws have overwhelming public support (this has been the case for quite some time now), they’ve been in effect in many places for many years now (thus substantially negating the “But who knows what will happen?!?” line of argument), and a national anti-discrimination law could make a major difference for the millions of GLBT folks who don’t live in a state or city where such protections currently exist. Plus, it puts our enemies in the unenviable position of arguing that it’s OK to fire people because they’re gay. Obviously, I want DADT and DOMA repealed as well, but IMHO both the military and marriage come with cultural baggage which make them more difficult and more complicated.

As David points out, ENDA has to come through Congress and that’s where the bulk of our can be most effectively focused — on getting it brought to the table, passed, and sent to Obama for his signature. The best way to prevent him from avoiding our issues is to make them unavoidable

David C.
May 19th, 2009 | LINK

As I indirectly pointed out up-thread, we’re going to have an excellent opportunity to take the temperature of Obama’s passion regarding DOMA very soon, sometime before or in the week of June 22nd.

This is the deadline for the Department of Justice to respond to a suit filed by GLAD against Section 3 of DOMA.

Follow this interesting link to learn more about this and perhaps engage in a little activism of your own. Here’s a taste of what you will find there:

Quick Summary: Presidents have the option [of] refusing to defend a law they view as unconstitutional on its face, of which there is no clearer example than DOMA (Defense Of Marriage Act). President Obama himself has called the law “abhorrent” and he’s a constitutional law professor. Given these premises, we feel that President Obama [should] refuse to defend DOMA and should instead instruct his Department of Justice to join GLAD in this historic lawsuit.

My principal reason for pointing this out is to encourage people to watch what the Obama Administration actually does with this opportunity to move the gay civil rights agenda forward. Will President Obama instruct the DOJ to challenge or defend DOMA?

If readers feel it important to join Operation DOMA Flip Flop and press for administration and DOJ action against DOMA, they should by all means do so. Before deciding, keep in mind that those who support DOMA will be pressing the administration to defend the statute and there will be political consequences no matter what decision the President makes.

el polacko
May 21st, 2009 | LINK

we’re getting the same run-around from barack that we got from bill clinton:
huge promises and definitive statements during the campaign to win gay votes and dollars and then they get into office and it’s gay who ? gay what ?
clinton actually took us backward, and obama is just “too busy” to worry about our civil rights, has to consider his popularity ratings, and i’m sure they needed the space on their website for more important matters. it sickens me that gay people make excuses and are so willing to just wait and wait and wait for their equality.

staci
May 22nd, 2009 | LINK

Maybe Hillary should have been elected president after all. She is going to give equal rights to gay US diplomats.

ravenbiker
June 15th, 2009 | LINK

On this issue and campaign promise, Mr. Obama is a coward and I hope all who voted for their selfdescribed Prophet will in the end recognize this.

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