Obama administration ceases defending DOMA

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Kauai, Feb 23, 2011.

  1. Kauai macrumors 6502a

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    #1
    Preliminary reports are saying that the DOJ will announce soon that it will no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act.

    While Obama has been clear about his opposition to the law -- he had up until now refused to call it unconstitutional and said he would prefer it to be repealed legislatively. I myself believe it is unconstitutional considering it violates the full faith and credit clause of the constitution (marriage equality being irrelevant) but either way this is huge news. It makes it all the more likely that DOMA will be struck down by one of the many court challenges going through the system.

    If DOMA is struck down the first effect will be that the federal government can start giving benefits to gay couples in states where they receive rights. The real question is whether the court will go one step further and also invalidate state level DOMA-like clauses. While this would not force states to give gay couples rights or have marriage equality, it would force them to recognize marriages/other partnerships performed in states that do recognize gay couples and give them equal benefits.

    Thoughts? What do you think made the Administration change their mind?
     
  2. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

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    #2
    Obama administration ceases defending DOMA

    The Department of Justice apparently believes the Defence of Marriage Act is unconstitutional and will stop defending the law in court:


    Apparently more to come...
     
  3. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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  4. rdowns macrumors Penryn

    rdowns

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    The Attorney General statement:


     
  5. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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  6. obeygiant macrumors 68040

    obeygiant

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    If there is one good thing to come from the Obama Administration its equal rights for same-sex couples.
     
  7. dscuber9000 macrumors 6502a

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    #7
    Finally. What a random stance for Obama to take. Glad he finally came around.
     
  8. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

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    #8

    Just as important is drawing the poison of political tactics and campaigning that involve the demonising of specific minority rights.
     
  9. NT1440 macrumors G4

    NT1440

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    #9
    Great news, though I suspect the timing is to make people/media bicker over this rather than the attack on the unions going on in the country currently. It's almost as if they've been saving this card as a deflection. :(

    This is bittersweet.
     
  10. CalBoy macrumors 604

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    While I'm very pleased by this development, I wonder what the next stage of this litigation will be.

    Technically if the government does not appeal a losing judgement, the Supreme Court will not hear the case.

    I will, however, be surprised if the Republicans in Congress don't make a fuss about this and campaign on reversing this policy the moment they win the next election.

    Of course the cynic in me thinks that poll numbers have finally changed substantially enough for Obama to take this position. He might be many things, but one thing Obama is not is politically brave.
     
  11. 184550 Guest

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    #11
    Good for Obama.

    I find it rather curious that Lee didn't post this/ hasn't commented on this yet.
     
  12. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

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    #12

    No, I guess taking on Hillary Clinton and John McCain, becoming the first black president at such a young age, pushing through the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, stopping a spiralling depression, getting a healthcare bill through congress, as well as DADT repeal isn't politically brave at all.
     
  13. CalBoy macrumors 604

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    No, none of those things were brave.

    Hillary was probably not going to win the primaries based on the polling and focus group data that was available prior to the 2008 primary season. Hillary is also not universally liked, even in the Democratic Party. Taking her on was not brave. The way he won the nomination was certainly clever and innovative, but not brave.

    Similarly taking on John McCain was not brave. The economy was in the toilet, the Republicans were at record low approval ratings, McCain was the oldest person running for the office in history, and Obama knew that he could outspend him 5:1. It was a Democrat's election to win.

    Being a young and minority president is certainly bold, and I can give him some credit here for bravery, but in hindsight it has less to do with political bravery and more to do with personal bravery. Every minority has to be brave in their own way whenever they are the first of their kind to do something. I will give him credit here, but no policy came out of this bravery that helped other minorities, so I'm less willing to be a champion for him in this regard.

    The bills he got through Congress were primarily the work of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. If anyone deserves a commendation for bravery in politics, it's them. Obama sat back and waited for bills to come to his desk, and didn't demand that they have better protections. Some portions of the Wall Street bill are a joke. Very little has been done to actually prevent a similar crisis in the future. Obama is not FDR in his consumer protection actions.

    The healthcare bill ended up being a shadow of what he actually promised during the campaign, and he didn't push the public option or single payer or Medicare for all very hard at all. He gave up the moment a single Republican made a peep. There is nothing brave in having no spine in the face of the other party.

    DADT should have been done in January of 2009. It took Obama 2 years to do something that Harry Truman did in 5 minutes. Obama has consistently avoided controversial social topics as long as possible, and even now is relying on passive inaction to change policy, rather than using political muscle.
     
  14. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    #14
    I think that's a bit unfair. The mere fact that he ran for and won the election demonstrates rather powerfully that he is, on the contrary, confronting controversial social topics head-on.

    Nevertheless, as I have said before, I think he is a cautious politician who does not seek open conflict with his opponents if there is a chance for compromise or consensus. His early days in office were probably marked by a hesitancy to take a hard stance against his opponents, but I believe he is becoming more assertive.

    In my opinion it's too early to make the judgments you're making now.
     
  15. TuffLuffJimmy macrumors G3

    TuffLuffJimmy

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    #15
    That's politics.
     
  16. CalBoy macrumors 604

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    I was more patient until the healthcare debacle.

    The middle class did not get the relief it needed and voted for with that bill, and it was easily possible if Obama had been even slightly more assertive.

    His unwillingness to use reconciliation when it became apparent that the Republicans were going to do everything they could to block any reform struck me as either naive or excessively passive. There is nothing good to be said about Obama's performance for the middle class the past 18 months. He essentially passed the Republican agenda with the tax cut extension and he continues to be passive with the union issues popping up.
     
  17. likemyorbs macrumors 68000

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    #17
    Seems to me like gay Americans will have full civil rights within 2 years. Good stuff! When i get married it will be nice to know my gay friends and collegues will be able to as well!
     
  18. Moyank24 macrumors 601

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    #18
    I hope so...I truly do.

    It's a small first step. The act of marriage is one thing, but we won't truly be equal until we can enjoy the same legal benefits as our straight counterparts. And let's not even get started on all of the tax benefits that our families are missing out on.

    That being said, so far it has been a great couple of months for gay rights. I hope this trend continues.
     
  19. likemyorbs macrumors 68000

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    #19
    I am sure it will. As i said before, dadt to the trash bin first, doma next. The only challenge will be forcing states that banned gay marriage to recognize it after it's federally legalized. But they will really have no other choice.
     
  20. NT1440 macrumors G4

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    #20
    Yup. :(

    Politics as usual.
     
  21. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #21
    This is a very tiny step, and really means nothing until it is declared unconstitutional or the legislature repeals it. And the legislature won't repeal it, so it will be up to the Supreme Court most likely. Until that happens, this will continue to be the law of the land. It's a nice gesture and good start, but means very little in the grand scheme.
     
  22. Thomas Veil macrumors 68020

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    #22
    It's good news, anyway, something we've been woefully short of this week.

    I agree with CalBoy though. Obama's been way too much of a wimp.
     
  23. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #23
    I'm also in the Calboy camp. Who knows though? It could get struck down by the Supreme Court. We'll have to wait and see.
     
  24. CalBoy macrumors 604

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    #24
    I think realistically the Supreme Court will have to strike down DOMA one day; it may just not be anytime soon.

    Even if the Federal government begins granting rights, all of the states would have to recognize marriage rights and that would require a full faith and credit claim that would wind up going to the top. I think that if it doesn't happen within the next few years, such a ruling is going to be largely uncontroversial when it finally comes down.

    I still think the timeline for full equality is at least 8 years from now though.
     
  25. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

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    #25
    Avoiding the rest of your post because I'd like to stay vaguely on topic, I have to strongly disagree on all counts, but particularly this one.

    First of all, he wasn't going to make the same massive political mistake that Bill Clinton did by rushing into this immediately upon taking office, particularly when there were far more pressing matters to take care of. Obama pursued permanent legislative change through congress by bringing all stakeholders on board, particularly the military... and by the end, he had the chiefs of staff on side.

    A liberal George Bush (The Decider) is not what he ran on.
     

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