by Dan Savage
on Fri, Jun 12, 2009 at 2:27 PM
They didn't use those exact words, of course, but in a group statement signed by the Human Rights Campaign, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Lambda Legal, the ACLU, and other big national organizations—organizations that are typically cautious and concerned about preserving their access—they come as close to "FUCK YOU" as they're ever going to get:
LGBT Legal And Advocacy Groups Decry Obama Administration's Defense of DOMA FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 12, 2009
We are very surprised and deeply disappointed in the manner in which the Obama administration has defended the so-called Defense of Marriage Act against Smelt v. United States, a lawsuit brought in federal court in California by a married same-sex couple asking the federal government to treat them equally with respect to federal protections and benefits. The administration is using many of the same flawed legal arguments that the Bush administration used. These arguments rightly have been rejected by several state supreme courts as legally unsound and obviously discriminatory.
We disagree with many of the administration’s arguments, for example that DOMA is a valid exercise of Congress’s power, is consistent with Equal Protection or Due Process principles, and does not impinge upon rights that are recognized as fundamental.
We are also extremely disturbed by a new and nonsensical argument the administration has advanced suggesting that the federal government needs to be “neutral” with regard to its treatment of married same-sex couples in order to ensure that federal tax money collected from across the country not be used to assist same-sex couples duly married by their home states. There is nothing "neutral" about the federal government’s discriminatory denial of fair treatment to married same-sex couples: DOMA wrongly bars the federal government from providing any of the over one thousand federal protections to the many thousands of couples who marry in six states. This notion of “neutrality” ignores the fact that while married same-sex couples pay their full share of income and social security taxes, they are prevented by DOMA from receiving the corresponding same benefits that married heterosexual taxpayers receive. It is the married same-sex couples, not heterosexuals in other parts of the country, who are financially and personally damaged in significant ways by DOMA. For the Obama administration to suggest otherwise simply departs from both mathematical and legal reality.
When President Obama was courting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender voters, he said that he believed that DOMA should be repealed. We ask him to live up to his emphatic campaign promises, to stop making false and damaging legal arguments, and immediately to introduce a bill to repeal DOMA and ensure that every married couple in America has the same access to federal protections.
ACLU GLAD Lambda Legal NCLR HRC NGLTF
Barack Obama's record on gay rights so far: disturbing, unsound, false, discriminatory, damaging, nonsensical. Before today you could argue that the Obama administration was too busy with the economy and the war and health care to focus on making good on his campaign promises to gays and lesbians, that Obama simply didn't have the time to take up our issues. But you can't make that argument anymore. The Obama administration has the time to take up gay rights issues—but only, it seems, to do harm.
I can't take my vote back. And I'm not sure I would if I could. But I sure as hell would like to have my money back.