As Joe just reported, the Obama administration has again defended DOMA in court. The good news: No mention of incest and pedophilia this time. The bad news: The brief is still quite nasty.
The Obama administration vociferously argues that gays are not, and should not, be considered a suspect class. For you laymen, that means we’re not like other minorities. Because if we were, they’d have to give us our civil rights. So the Obama administration is actually outright undercutting our legal battle for civil rights:
Plaintiff’s allegations that DOMA compels the Commonwealth to violate the equal protection rights of its citizens also fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. Binding precedent in this Circuit forecloses this Court from finding that DOMA involves a “suspect classification;” nor does the statute impinge upon any right that the courts have held to 1 Case 1:09-cv-11156-JLT Document 47 Filed 04/30/10 Page 3 of 22 be “fundamental.” Despite this Administration’s disagreement with DOMA as a matter of policy, the statute satisfies rational basis review and this Court should, accordingly, dismiss plaintiff’s constitutional challenge.
This Court should – and, in light of First Circuit precedent, must – decline plaintiff’s invitation to break new ground in the law of equal protection and suspect classifications.
And now the Obama administration is using Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell to argue that we’re not as good as other minorities. Kind of a two-fer of nastiness, using DADT against us, when they’re defending that in court too:
Plaintiff concedes, as it must, that the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit “recently applied rational basis scrutiny to the law excluding gay and lesbian persons from military service, and noted in its opinion that ‘homosexuals are not a suspect class’” (Doc. 29 at
32). See Cook v. Gates, 528 F.3d 42, 62 (1st Cir. 2008).
Obama administration using their new gay federal employees benefits bill as a cudgel to stop us from overturning DOMA. This one is particularly galling. The administration has been bragging for a several months about this arcane federal employees benefits bill that would provide benefits to some partners of some federal employees. It was clear from the git-go that the administration, along with HRC, was using this legislation to try to make up for screwing us on DOMA, ENDA and DADT. Well, now the Obama administration is using that bill to argue why DOMA shouldn’t be struck down. So now we know why the administration is offering the benefits bill – among other reasons, they think it helps them keep DOMA as the law of the land. Unbelievable.
DOMA satisfies these interests by defining “marriage” and “spouse” as those words were defined by all fifty States in 1996. Congress may subsequently decide to allocate federal benefits with recognition of same-sex partners, as the Administration believes it should. Indeed, bills currently pending in the House and Senate would provide various types of federal benefits for the samesex domestic partners of current federal employees. See S. 1102, 111th Cong. (2009); H.R.
2517, 111th Cong. (2009). The Constitution permits Congress to respond to new social phenomena one step at a time and to adjust national policy incrementally. See FCC v. Beach Communications, Inc., 508 U.S. 307, 316 (1993); Medeiros v. Vincent, 431 F.3d 25, 31-32 (1st Cir. 2005). Therefore, Congress’s 1996 decision to maintain the status quo in 1996 was not= irrational or unconstitutional.
Next, the Obama administration argues that there’s nothing constitutionally:
That is the “status quo” that Congress could reasonably have sought to maintain in enacting DOMA. Congress had to choose between two interests: continuing in all respects the “tradition” of accepting any marriage valid under state law, or continuing to define marriage, at the federal level, as only opposite-sex marriage. That Congress chose the second over the first does not make the choice unconstitutionally irrational.
DOMA is a good thing for the Obama administration, it makes their job easier not having to worry about all those pesky marriage rights for gays:
From a federal perspective, DOMA preserves nationwide consistency and uniformity: notwithstanding the rapidly changing legal status of same-sex marriage among the States, DOMA established that “marriage” and “spouse” would refer only to opposite-sex marriage for purposes of federal law. In the absence of DOMA, federal rights would depend on the differing and changing status of same-sex marriage in each State. Congress could reasonably have concluded that federal agencies should not have to deal immediately with a changing patchwork of state approaches to same-sex marriage.