Pro-Family Groups Remain Wary Despite Justice Dept.'s DOMA Defense
Gay marriage advocates have accused the Obama administration of betrayal, pointing to the U.S. Justice Department's recent motion to dismiss a same-sex marriage case.
"Unfortunately, the malicious and outrageous arguments and language used in the Justice Department's brief [are] only serving to inflame and malign the humanity of same-sex couples and our families," said Rea Carey, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Last Thursday, the Justice Department filed a motion to dismiss the Smelt v. United States case that challenges the federal Defense of Marriage Act. The motion argues that the plaintiffs, Arthur Smelt and Christopher Hammer, lack standing because they failed to allege that they have ever applied for federal benefits, let alone that they have been denied any as a result of DOMA. The gay married couple from California also did not attempt to have their marriage recognized in a different state.
The 1996 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.
Gay activist John Aravosis denounces the Justice Department's argument as "gratuitously homophobic" and "as if it were written by one of George Bush's top political appointees."
"Obama didn't just argue a technicality about the case, he argued that DOMA is reasonable. That DOMA is constitutional. That DOMA wasn't motivated by any anti-gay animus," Aravosis states on Americablog.
Aravosis further decried the Justice Department's invoking incest and pedophilia in its arguments.
Although conservatives may be tempted to laud Obama for last week's brief, Randy Thomas, executive vice president of Exodus International, cautions against premature praise.
"The temptation for a social conservative is to say, 'way to go Obama!' and be deceived into thinking that he ultimately won't redefine marriage, family, religious liberty and civil liberties/rights," said Thomas in his personal blog.
"I think we must remember that while the Obama justice department is seemingly repeating social conservative arguments … other Obama Administration departments are inculcating gay ideology into their corporate environments," he added.
Earlier this month, Obama declared June "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month" and vowed to support measures to "bring the full spectrum of equal rights to LGBT Americans."
Obama also has appointed Kevin Jennings – founder of the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network – as assistant deputy secretary for the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools.
Pro-family groups are alerting its supporters that GLSEN is the chief national group promoting policies to force affirmation of homosexuality in schools, beginning in kindergarten. They have urged Obama to withdraw the appointment of Jennings.
Additionally, White House spokesman Shin Inouye told the LA Times that the brief submitted by the Justice Department last week was in following its normal practice of defending current law and that Obama "remains fully committed" to his proposals on gay rights, which include the repeal of DOMA.
"The president has said he wants to see a legislative repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act because it prevents LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) couples from being granted equal rights and benefits," Inouye said.
Traditional marriage supporters have continued to rally support to oppose Obama's plan and are pushing for constitutional marriage amendments in each state to protect marriage as a union between a man and a woman.