In a major policy reversal, the Obama administration said Wednesday it will no longer defend the constitutionality of a federal law banning recognition of same-sex marriage.But we all know this by now.
Attorney General Eric Holder said President Barack Obama has concluded that the administration cannot defend the federal law that defines marriage as only between a man and a woman. He noted that the congressional debate during passage of the Defense of Marriage Act "contains numerous expressions reflecting moral disapproval of gays and lesbians and their intimate and family relationships - precisely the kind of stereotype-based thinking and animus the (Constitution's)Equal Protection Clause is designed to guard against."
What's been the reaction to all this Administration fairness?
House Speaker John Boehner (from Politico):
Since the anemic economy will probably dominate the national agenda for the foreseeable future, advocates contend there was little political risk for the president in meeting a long-standing demand of the gay community and declaring the 15-year-old law — which bans federal recognition of same-sex marriages — unconstitutional. It was telling that House Speaker John Boehner, one of the most powerful Republicans in Washington, criticized the decision as a distraction, but didn’t attack its substance.TPM calls this the Tell of the Day:
“While Americans want Washington to focus on creating jobs and cutting spending, the President will have to explain why he thinks now is the appropriate time to stir up a controversial issue that sharply divides the nation,” Boehner said.
Buried in a packed news day, I think one of the telling responses to the president's DOMA decision was that from Speaker John Boehner. Asked for comment, Boehner spokesman Michael Steel released a statement that could only barely manage to criticize the president's decision.On the other hand, the crazies are out in full force.
Representative Michele Bachmann:
Michele Bachmann is fundraising off President Obama's decision to no longer defend the constitutionality of a law banning federal recognition of same-sex unions.And former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum:
Just hours after the president's reversal on a Defense of Marriage Act provision, Bachmann, who is considering a White House run next year, blasted an e-mail to supporters. "I'm sending you this urgent message because if we don't join together and take action today, it could be a crushing blow to the traditional marriage movement," she writes.
Bachmann urges them to sign her "Support Traditional Marriage" petition, setting a goal of collecting 50,000 names in 48 hours. And then she asks supporters to "consider making a generous donation of $25, $50, $100, $250 or more" so she can circulate the petition to other activists around the country.
"This is just the beginning in our fight to repeal Barack Obama in 2012," she writes. "Had Barack Obama been on the ballot in 2010, he would have gone down in a fiery defeat. Yet he continues to push his far-left, socialist agenda on the American people. And today, he has declared war on marriage. As conservatives, we must push for a new type of 'change' in our country and fight for our shared values."
In a statement released tonight, Santorum said President Obama's decision on DOMA is "is yet another example of our president's effort to erode the very traditions that have made our country the greatest nation on earth."Of course "will of the people" is not a factor in the constitutionality of a law. But I am not a lawyer, you know.
Obama's "refusal to defend a law that was overwhelmingly supported on both sides of the aisle and signed into law by a president of his own party is an affront to the will of the people," Santorum said.
I'm also not an anti-gay bigot.