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Tea Partiers support overturn of DOMA

Timothy Kincaid

July 9th, 2010

The Tea Party movement can be difficult to understand. On the one hand, they are not supportive of gay equality, but on the other they truly dislike and distrust a large centralized government.

And the New York Times found that, for the most part, the Tea Party leaders supported the decision to overturn the federal Defense of Marriage Act as a victory for states’ rights, even if they don’t much like the consequences.

Some people involved in the campaigns to limit Washington’s reach cheered what they said was a states’ rights victory.

“The Constitution isn’t about political ideology,” said Michael Boldin, the founder of the Tenth Amendment Center, a group based in Los Angeles. “It’s about liberty, and limiting the government to certain divisive issues — I applaud what I consider a very rare ruling form the judiciary.”

Others, like Steve V. Moon, a software programmer and founder of, a group founded in Utah in 2008, said the judge’s decision was both right and wrong.

“It’s unconstitutional for the federal government to pass laws superseding state authority — and the judge did affirm states’ rights in this area,” he said. “But I personally believe in the sanctity of marriage between a man and woman and support any state passing laws affirming the sanctity of marriage.”

Mr. Moon said he feared that what might look like a states’ rights victory could backfire. If judges in other states, drawing on Judge Tauro’s reasoning, start throwing out marriage definition laws that were passed by residents or legislatures, “that could be detrimental to states’ rights.”

A spokeswoman for one of the biggest Tea Party umbrella organizations, Tea Party Patriots, said that social questions were not part of their mission.

“As far as an assertion of states’ rights goes, I believe it’s a good thing,” said Shelby Blakely, executive director of The New Patriot Journal, the group’s online publication. “The Constitution does not allow federal regulation of gay marriage just as it doesn’t allow for federal regulation of health care.”

“But I don’t want to come off saying I support gay marriage,” she added.

Meanwhile, the white house continues to stay silent on the decision.



Jim Burroway
July 9th, 2010 | LINK

Oh really? I thought the Glenn Beck/Sarah Palin/Dick Army wing of the Tea Party were so proud of the fact that the tea party was a so-called spontaneous grassroots groundswell that had no leaders?

And who really say that these people speak for tea partiers?

Believe me, the tea party of Arizona, among may other places, are very different. Let’s not pretend that this manufactured movement is our friends.

Timothy Kincaid
July 9th, 2010 | LINK


I’m looking for any statements from Tea Party groups who think the judge got that wrong. Maybe the Times only talked to the ones who agreed and Arizona Tea Party groups wish the the feds had won rather than the state.

I haven’t found any yet, but if you do then please link to them.

Rev. Loush
July 9th, 2010 | LINK

not all tea party people are against gay rights. one of my best friends is an older woman and she is fully supportive of me getting all my rights. heer main reason for joining the tea party was because she wants to vote EVERYONE out of office who is currently in office. she wants fresh blood she says. if it says incumbant next to their name she wants them out! i am confused by the whole party personally!

Timothy Kincaid
July 9th, 2010 | LINK

Actually, it’s not just the Tea Party. I’m having difficulty in finding anyone outside of NOM and pals that has said boo about this decision.

No GOP leaders. No senators. Not even Huckabee.

This is bizarre. I’ve not figured out yet what is fueling the silence. It’s like what happened when New Hampshire legislature voted for marriage equality or when Washington State populace voted down Ref 71.

It may be that some of the party actually believes their own statements about “states’ rights”.

John in the Bay Area
July 9th, 2010 | LINK

Libertarians may get up and say things like this, but there is no reason to believe that libertarian thinking, rather than arch conservative Republican politics, is behind the Tea Party Movement. It is, I guess, nice to dream sometimes.

July 9th, 2010 | LINK

Ugh. Dammit. I like my conservatives crazy irrational and foaming at the mouth! Funny hats help, too!

Richard Rush
July 9th, 2010 | LINK

I’m wondering if the Tea Partiers’ championing of states’ rights is a double edge sword for us. While they may support overturning DOMA, wouldn’t it also mean that the Federal courts should have no authority to overturn California’s Prop 8, for example?

Would they support the overturning of Loving v. Virginia so that states would be free to bring back miscegenation laws?

Lindoro Almaviva
July 9th, 2010 | LINK

The only reason why they like it being overturned is because now they can create a frenzy of fear about the gay monster being able to marry and thus make sure that more stated pass “marriage protection” laws.

They do not like the federal government sponsored discrimination because then they can not do their little witch hunts themselves.

Funny thing is that, if DOMA is unconstitutional, they can not correlate the fact that all those “marriage protection acts” will also be found unconstitutional on the same grounds.

July 9th, 2010 | LINK

@lindoro, actually, challenging DOMA on 10 Amendment grounds would mean that the Prop 8 case would logically be upheld, since it would affirm the California’s right to define marriage for itself, just as invalidating DOMA affirms Massachusetts’ right to do the same. It’s a shockingly reasoned and consistent point of view from the Tea Party leaders quoted in the article. But let’s not forget that the Texas Tea Party wants us in jail. So I’m thinking these quotes were somewhat cherry picked.

Lindoro Almaviva
July 9th, 2010 | LINK

But the problem is that one of the decisions said that DOMA violates the due process, that will be the same argument that eventually will dissolve all those marriage protection acts

Lynn David
July 9th, 2010 | LINK

Surprised, I am…. bet these guys are in a really small minority, though. Even the people calling themselves libertarian these days are very libertarian about sexual matters.

July 10th, 2010 | LINK

I don’t live there, but the impression I’ve gotten about Iowa is that while not many people there like the idea of gay marriage, now that it’s law they mostly shrug their shoulders and figure it doesn’t affect them, so they’d rather focus on more important things. It seems like attempts by anti-gay activists to whip up support there are greeted with a collective shrug.

I kind of get the sense that other than some vocally social-conservative splinters, the bulk of the Tea Party groups are probably similar. Most of them don’t care for gay rights or gay marriage per se, but they seem more interested in devoting their efforts towards cutting taxes, undoing healthcare reform, stopping the slow march of socialism, etc. etc.

I could be wrong, of course; only time will tell.

Other Fred in the UK
July 10th, 2010 | LINK

My guess is that for many conservatives this judgement presents a real political dilemma, do they fail to support States rights or do they, de facto, support gay marriage. I suspect that many do not want to give quotes out that show them to be doing either of those two things.

Ben Mathis
July 10th, 2010 | LINK

State’s rights is, and always will be, code for private tyranny. Chomsky says it far better than I.

Neon Genesis
July 10th, 2010 | LINK

I found this poll from way back in April this year which said the Tea Party was less likely to support the ban of gay marriage, but they were also more likely to be supportive of getting rid of all marriage including civil unions: So it makes sense you haven’t heard much complaints from the Tea Party about DOMA. The Tea Party wants to abolish all forms of government recognized marriage including civil unions.

July 10th, 2010 | LINK

I’ll believe it if I see a poll to back it up, one that asked self-avowed Tea-Partiers about their opinions of this recent ruling. My guess is that some of the more prominent Tea Partiers and some of the libertarian-leaning ones might be ambivalent about or supportive of this ruling, but that the the majority would be against.

Priya Lynn
July 10th, 2010 | LINK

Justsearching is right. No statistician would accept a handful of quotes as being representative of what tea partiers believe. Absent a statistically significant representative poll these quotes are meaningless.

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