What will the Obama administration say about the Prop. 8 decision?

In the wake of the loss on Prop. 8, Obama chose Rick Warren as a speaker at his inauguration. That was a real indication that Team Obama was oblivious to the concerns of the LGBT community. And, it hasn’t changed much.

Today, Judge Walker will issue his decision on Prop. 8. What will the President’s team have to say about it? Anything? Today’s Prop. 8 decision will give the Obama administration the opportunity to speak out for equality for all Americans. Don’t hold your breath. If this case gets to the Supreme Court, the Obama administration’s Solicitor General should weigh in given the constitutional implications. So, we may get some indication in a couple years.

We may not get a comment about this Prop. 8 decision anytime soon, but the White House is going to have to address the constitutionality of DOMA sometime soon.

Last Thursday, Obama’s press secretary, Robert Gibbs, had an opportunity to address DOMA. As usual, he punted. At the press briefing, Kerry Eleveld asked Gibbs about DOMA, which was recently found unconstitutional by a federal judge in Massachusetts:

The Advocate: A growing number of people have started to call on the administration not to defend what the president refers to as the “so-called” Defense of Marriage Act – including Steve Hildebrand last week and the Human Rights Campaign, which is the largest LGBT community lobby and, quite frankly, it’s usually fairly favorable toward the administration, so it was a turnaround for them to call on the administration not to defend that law.

The president has called DOMA discriminatory. Does the president believe that a discriminatory law is constitutional?

Robert Gibbs: I don’t… the president hasn’t to the best of my… I have not heard the president intone what he believes the constitutionality of the law is. I know that he believes the law should be changed.

Legal decisions around next steps in that case, I believe, will be made at the Justice Department and I would point you over there to them.

Again, the president believes, in this case, and the president believes in the case of “don’t ask, don’t tell” that those are laws that he has believed for quite some time should be changed.

We tried to get this question answered at the White House briefing for LGBT media, too.

Obama taught constitutional law. He must have an opinion as to whether DOMA is constitutional.

The Obama administration has aggressively defended DOMA and DADT in court. Now, a federal judge in Massachusetts has declared DOMA is unconstitutional. So, we will know soon how this administration views equality. After the decision in the Massachusetts DOMA case is entered, Obama’s Department of Justice will have 60 days to decide whether to appeal that ruling. The DOJ’s lawyers will have to argue that DOMA is constitutional in order to appeal it. Is that Obama’s position?

To be clear, the DOJ does not have to appeal the DOMA decision. But, we’ll hear their flaks say they do. The DOJ did not have to defend DOMA or DADT either. Although, we heard from all of the Obama apologists (mostly lobbyists and people who want jobs) that they had to.

Pam Spaulding celebrated her sixth wedding anniversary this past weekend. She wrote an excellent post asking why her marriage isn’t recognized in all 50 states hits all the key points:

Kate and I married on July 1, 2004 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. At that time it was the only place we could legally marry in North America. Today, our marriage is recognized in a few states — Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Washington, D.C.; the Coquille Indian Tribe in Oregon also grants same-sex marriage. New York, Rhode Island, and Maryland recognizes same-sex marriages, but they are not granted.

And then of course, you have the perversion of separate-allegedly-equal civil unions and domestic partnerships, which in theory gives couples (from the perspective of state government) equal legal recognition.

DOMA is clearly unconstitutional from a common sense perspective — there is no sane justification for the fact that when Kate and I get on a plane and fly to New York that we’re married, and when we return to North Carolina we’re not. My state fortunately has not passed a marriage amendment; it does have a state DOMA to ensure our union is not recognized.

Yet my state-issued drivers license is valid in all 50 states. What’s the difference? It’s really that simple – we’re talking about the culture of marriage, the heterosupremacy, the church/state conflation of marriage. It does NOT help that in the White House sits a president who is a constitutional scholar bleating that “God is in the mix” and that marriage is between a man and a woman. I really don’t care about the political “safety” about this position at this date and time. It’s an absurd position that only underscore what we’ve seen occur over and over — the LGBT community is tossed overboard when it comes to civil rights. The stated positions of this administration always default to pandering toward the bigots, even when those positions fly in the face of common sense. It’s quite sad.

It is quite sad. And, it’s going to be a major political problem if the Obama administration is defending unconstitutional and discriminatory laws while running for reelection.


On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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