Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Quote of the Day

In a heartening reversal, President Obama has instructed the Justice Department to stop defending the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act. That deplorable 1996 law sanctioned blatant discrimination against the spousal rights of married gays and lesbians.

The announcement by Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. struck at the core of the matter, concluding that Congress had violated constitutional due process in a debate rife with “moral disapproval” of gay men and lesbians — “precisely the kind of stereotype-based thinking and animus” banned by the equal protection clause.

The decision reversed the administration’s untenable position of defending the law’s affront to equal rights even as Mr. Obama made clear his personal opposition. Instead, Mr. Holder said it was no longer possible to advance “hypothetical rationales” in court independent of the bias-steeped record of Congressional enactment.

The act, passed in an election year and signed by President Bill Clinton, arbitrarily denied federal benefits for married couples to married same-sex couples, including Social Security survivor payments and the option to file joint tax returns. It allowed states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages that are legally recognized in other states.

The president’s decision is a major advancement for protecting the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans. It firmly skewers what has been bad law and complements the recent Congressional repeal of the government’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” prejudice suffered by gay men and lesbians serving the nation in the military. . . .

– New York Times editorial
"Mr. Obama Moves Against Bias"
February 23, 2011

Recommended Off-site Links:
Obama Drops Gay Marriage Bomb
– Eve Conant (The Daily Beast, February 23, 2011).
Feds Won't Oppose Same-Sex Marriage CNN (February 23, 2011).
Fox News Losing It Over DOMA Announcement – Evan Hurst (, February 23, 2011).

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Quote of the Day – December 18, 2010
Two Very Different Perspectives on the Military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Policy

Image: Jose Cabezas.

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