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Obama administration says marriage law unfair

Posted by on Aug. 17, 2009 at 11:40 AM
  • 54 Replies

WASHINGTON – The Obama administration filed court papers Monday claiming a federal marriage law discriminates against gays, even as government lawyers continued to defend it.

Justice Department lawyers are seeking to dismiss a suit brought by a gay California couple challenging the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act. The administration's response to the case has angered gay activists who see it as backtracking on campaign promises made by Barack Obama last year.

In court papers, the administration said it supports repeal of the law.

Yet the same filing says the Justice Department will defend the statute in this case because a reasonable argument can be made that the law is constitutional.

The government's previous filing in the case angered gay rights activists who supported Obama's candidacy in part because of his pledge to move forward on repealing the law and the "don't ask, don't tell" policy that prevents gays from serving openly in the military.

"The administration believes the Defense of Marriage Act is discriminatory and should be repealed," said Justice Department spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler, because it prevents equal rights and benefits.

The department is obligated "to defend federal statutes when they are challenged in court. The Justice Department cannot pick and choose which federal laws it will defend based on any one administration's policy preferences," Schmaler added.

The law, often called DOMA, denies federal recognition of gay marriage and gives states the right to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.

"DOMA reflects a cautiously limited response to society's still-evolving understanding of the institution of marriage," according to the filing by Assistant Attorney General Tony West.

The administration also disavowed past arguments made by conservatives that DOMA protects children by defining marriage as between a man and a woman.

"The United States does not believe that DOMA is rationally related to any legitimate government interests in procreation and child-rearing and is therefore not relying upon any such interests to defend DOMA's constitutionality," lawyers argued in the filing.

Obama has pledged to work to repeal the law.

Monday's court filing was in response to a lawsuit by Arthur Smelt and Christopher Hammer, who are challenging the federal law, which prevents couples in states that recognize same-sex unions from securing Social Security spousal benefits, filing joint taxes and benefiting from other federal rights connected to marriage.

Justice lawyers have argued that the act is constitutional and contend that awarding federal marriage benefits to gays would infringe on the rights of taxpayers in the 30 states that specifically prohibit same-sex marriages.

Earlier this year, Massachusetts became the first state to challenge the law in court.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090817/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/us_gay_marriage


by on Aug. 17, 2009 at 11:40 AM
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Replies (1-10):
LavenderMom23
by Bronze Member on Aug. 17, 2009 at 12:16 PM

There is no such thing as gay marriage in my book and there should be no such thing. Marriage is defined the way it is for a reason. If gays want benefits (which is what this comes down to) they should try and persue civil unions maybe, but Christians won't relinquish marriage rights to just anyone who cries unfair.

Stefanie1085
by Silver Member on Aug. 17, 2009 at 12:18 PM


Quoting LavenderMom23:

There is no such thing as gay marriage in my book and there should be no such thing. Marriage is defined the way it is for a reason. If gays want benefits (which is what this comes down to) they should try and persue civil unions maybe, but Christians won't relinquish marriage rights to just anyone who cries unfair.


Wow. A little harsh. Marriage in court is different than marriage in a church- they aren't trying to force churches to perform ceremonies......

margroc
by on Aug. 17, 2009 at 12:23 PM

Why are people so afraid!  OMG the gays are getting married - EEK!  We've had gay marriage in Canada for a while now - guess what - nothing changed!  Churches are still standing and the sky has not fallen.

If you don't like gay marriage - don't marry a gay person.

β€œThe state has no business in the bedrooms of the nation.” - Pierre E. Trudeau
PamR
by Pam on Aug. 17, 2009 at 12:49 PM

What does religion have to do with it?  This pertains to civil marriage, not religious marriage.

susankl
by Member on Aug. 17, 2009 at 12:56 PM

I'm sorry but being gay is wrong!!!!!!!!! If you choose to live  your life that way though,do it behind closed doors and don't shove it down the throats of those who oppose it. If being gay was normal, it wouldn't be so controversial.

Stefanie1085
by Silver Member on Aug. 17, 2009 at 12:57 PM


Quoting susankl:

I'm sorry but being gay is wrong!!!!!!!!! If you choose to live  your life that way though,do it behind closed doors and don't shove it down the throats of those who oppose it. If being gay was normal, it wouldn't be so controversial.


Ummm if it was legal, it wouldn't have to be in the news anymore and therefore wouldn't be shoved down your throats. Being a judgemental person is wrong too but hey, there you are

Imsupermom2
by Cynthia on Aug. 17, 2009 at 1:02 PM


Quoting Stefanie1085:


Quoting susankl:

I'm sorry but being gay is wrong!!!!!!!!! If you choose to live  your life that way though,do it behind closed doors and don't shove it down the throats of those who oppose it. If being gay was normal, it wouldn't be so controversial.


Ummm if it was legal, it wouldn't have to be in the news anymore and therefore wouldn't be shoved down your throats. Being a judgemental person is wrong too but hey, there you are

Everybody is judgemental, EVERYBODY...right or wrong when we look at someone we tend to make judgements on their appearance, the way they speak, and the way they act.
It's human nature to read somebodies character.

DaisyRae
by Bronze Member on Aug. 17, 2009 at 1:05 PM

I am not in favor of the homosexual lifestyle at all, but like it has been pointed out a civil marriage is not the same as a religious marriage and while I dont agree with the lifestyle I also dont agree that they should be singled out and denyed a marriage license simply because they are homosexual. I know far too many homosexual couples and people to know that while I disagree with their behavior that certainly doesnt change the fact that they are awesome people, loving parents and great role models for people in their lives.

Friday
by HRH of MJ on Aug. 17, 2009 at 1:05 PM


Quoting LavenderMom23:

There is no such thing as gay marriage in my book and there should be no such thing. Marriage is defined the way it is for a reason. If gays want benefits (which is what this comes down to) they should try and persue civil unions maybe, but Christians won't relinquish marriage rights to just anyone who cries unfair.

In the USA marriage is defined as a CIVIL CONTRACT, there is no religious ceremony or blessing required to receive govt recognition or benefits.

Christians don't own marriage and don't have the power to give or relinquish any rights.

 


Thank God......it's Friday!!!

Stefanie1085
by Silver Member on Aug. 17, 2009 at 1:05 PM


Quoting Imsupermom2:


Quoting Stefanie1085:


Quoting susankl:

I'm sorry but being gay is wrong!!!!!!!!! If you choose to live  your life that way though,do it behind closed doors and don't shove it down the throats of those who oppose it. If being gay was normal, it wouldn't be so controversial.


Ummm if it was legal, it wouldn't have to be in the news anymore and therefore wouldn't be shoved down your throats. Being a judgemental person is wrong too but hey, there you are

Everybody is judgemental, EVERYBODY...right or wrong when we look at someone we tend to make judgements on their appearance, the way they speak, and the way they act.
It's human nature to read somebodies character.


Ok how about being overly judgemental or hypocritical? Would that be better?

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