Thousands of traditional marriage supporters have contacted President Obama to voice opposition to his plan to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act.
Almost immediately after the inaugural ceremony, the new administration updated the Whitehouse.gov website with a full outline of Barack Obama's agenda, which included repealing DOMA and opposing a federal marriage amendment that would ban same-sex marriage.
"President Obama supports full civil unions that give same-sex couples legal rights and privileges equal to those of married couples," the Whitehouse.gov website states. "Obama also believes we need to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and enact legislation that would ensure that the 1,100+ federal legal rights and benefits currently provided on the basis of marital status are extended to same-sex couples in civil unions and other legally-recognized unions."
The next day, the National Organization for Marriage mobilized its supporters to e-mail the president, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Harry Reid and state legislators, urging them to uphold DOMA.
In less than 24 hours, thousands of people responded, according to NOM. The organization reported that so many e-mails were sent to Pelosi that her website started rejecting e-mails sent by traditional marriage advocates.
Traditional marriage is "simply common sense, not bigotry, recognizing the shared wisdom of humanity across all cultural, religious, and ethnic lines," states the NOM e-mail. "Marriage connects a child to both her mom and her dad, giving her the birthright of love and support from her own parents that every child deserves."
The Federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), enacted under the Clinton administration, defines marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman for purposes of all federal laws, and provides that states need not recognize same-sex marriages from another state. Congress approved the legislation in 1996 particularly in response to a 1993 Hawaii court decision that declared a state law prohibiting same-sex marriage to be unconstitutional.
The repeal of DOMA would jeopardize the marriage laws of 45 states, including constitutional amendments upholding traditional marriage in 30 states, says Brian S. Brown NOM executive director.
"Instead of protecting the will of voters all across the country, President Obama's policy would allow a handful of judges in Massachusetts and Connecticut to force same-sex marriage on the entire nation," says Brown, whose organization launched a website to fight any efforts to repeal DOMA at domadefensefund.com.
Many traditional marriage supporters have been taken aback by the pro-gay rights tone the Whitehouse.gov website has taken for its "Civil Rights" agenda, which supports the expansion of hate crimes statutes, discrimination employment laws that would grant special protections to the LBGT community, gay civil unions, gay couples' adoption rights and the repeal of the military's "Don't Ask-Don't Tell" policy.
Coral Ridge Ministries, a Christian media organization, also sent out an e-mail alert over the weekend stating, "Our new president wants to force Americans to accept homosexuality in the workplace and in the military."
"Right now, the President has the political wind at his back. Most in the media and Congress are cheering for him and his agenda to succeed," the ministry added. "That means he most likely will unless men and women of moral conviction and courage stand up and say 'No!'"
Many have criticized the president for running under a campaign that opposed same-sex marriage only to now support an agenda that promotes it.
"President Barack Obama says he supports traditional marriage but is catering to anti-marriage forces by appointing known-gay rights advocate Eric Holder as Attorney General and by announcing his intent to reverse the ban on open homosexuals in the military," said Eugene Delgaudio, president of Public Advocate, in a statement.
During the inauguration, volunteers of the Virginia-based group held a traditional marriage demonstration, handing out thousands of buttons, t-shirts, and stickers declaring "Preserve Traditional Marriage." The group also collected video testimony in support of traditional marriage from 657 people, representing 27 states.
According to Public Advocate, the majority of attendants at the inauguration were in favor a traditional marriage. Of the people they approached, volunteers counted 37,357 people who agreed to wear the "Preserve Traditional Marriage" gear while 12,373 people refused.