Prosecute the torture.

June 17, 2009

Obama's extension of same-sex benefits with all the asterisks

Last night David posted about the then breaking news that President Obama will sign an order extending benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees.

That move comes with asterisks:
According to the New York Times, "While he will announce a list of benefits, officials said, they are not expected to include broad health insurance coverage, which could require legislation to achieve" because of (you-guessed-it) the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

Also in that article, "...administration officials said the timing of the announcement was intended to help contain the growing furor among gay rights groups. Several gay donors withdrew their sponsorship of a Democratic National Committee fund-raising event next week, where Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. is scheduled to speak."

And what's the furor about? Obama's DOJ choosing not only to defend DOMA, but to defend it using some of the right wings' most disgusting and shameful talking points such as comparing same-sex marriage to incest. The New York Times in a Monday editorial called it a "A Bad Call on Gay Rights" and quoted Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, who said, “I cannot overstate the pain that we feel as human beings and as families when we read an argument, presented in federal court, implying that our own marriages have no more constitutional standing than incestuous ones.”

The Times also adds that, "There is a strong presumption that the Justice Department will defend federal laws, but it is not an inviolable rule."

I will add that Obama's DOJ has, for example, not prosecuted Bush/Cheney on torture or any other broken treaties and war crimes.
[sigh]
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1 comment:

Joy said...

To be fair, there are only a few major ways in which state laws on marriage differ. By "major," I mean "differ to the degree that one state will not recognize a marriage legally performed in another state."

And what do those issues entail? Age, and degree of relatedness.

I find it careless (at best) and offensive (at worse) for the gay community's mouthpieces to needlessly call out & offend states that do allow marriage at a young age and/or between more closely related people. "Child abuse" and "incest" are fighting words.

Yes, it seems like there should be good theoretical reasons for close cousins not to breed. But (newsflash!) not all married couples have kids. And anyway, a lot of good science says that the inbreeding risk is not as high as most people (or most doctors) assume. See the "cousins marrying cousins" section of http://chemistry.typepad.com/the_great_mate_debate/dan_savage/page/2/

Yes, people who marry young don't do so well, statistically, in the happy marriage department. But if 16 year olds get married, with parental consent, in a state that allows such marriages, do you want to call that child abuse?

IMHO, what's the benefit of offending not only those who married young (in, oh, the last 60+ years) and couples who are cousins? And also residents of states that allow such marriages? And also perhaps, people who have suffered incest or child abuse, and don't really benefit from seeing those tags hung on fairly non-offensive acts carried out by two rational, consenting persons?