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June 13, 2009


Many in the GLBT community are very upset with Obama's silence and inaction on DOMA and DADT.

To some, the Dept. of Justice's (DOJ) baffling, specious and almost unintelligible brief filed IN FAVOR OF UPHOLDING DOMA in a recent court challenge is the last straw.

The media, from countless blogs and websites to prestigious newspapers and national broadcasts, have espoused scathing commentaries about this latest slap-in-the-face action taken against the rights of GLBT people throughout the country. I too am incensed that the DOJ (i.e., the Obama administration) would even consider taking such a stand when Obama is already under a great deal of fire for his unwillingness to use the stop-loss power he already has to at least suspend the continuing DADT discharges so that no more American Patriots are unceremoniously kicked-out for nothing more than being gay.

What makes this even more confusing is the way in which the DOJ handled the filing of their brief. Their actions just simply make no sense. Even if you buy into the argument that this particular case isn't the right one to challenge DOMA on the grounds of a constitutional right for gays and lesbians to marry because it only addresses the right to have the already performed legal gay marriages recognized by other states and the federal government. There are, in fact, several cases in the pipeline that directly challenge the constitutionality of prohibiting only gay marriages and would be much stronger challenges to DOMA.

In a June 12th posting renowned journalist Andrew Sullivan said:

There's a completely decent reason to keep DOMA in place for the time being, especially in the federal courts right now - where bad precedents could wound us in the future. But to file an actual brief re-stating some of the worst and most denigrating arguments against gay civil equality is just bizarre. They could have argued for a narrow ruling or kept the "reasonable" arguments to a minimum. What they did - without any heads up to any of their gay supporters and allies - is unconscionable. Citing incest precedents? Calling gay couples free-loaders? Arguing that our civil rights are not impinged because we can marry someone of the opposite sex? Who on earth decided that that was a great idea? Marc is right that this will be simply incomprehensible to most gay people. To have unloaded it after refusing to do anything on DADT, after failing to lift the HIV travel ban, after punting on even pure symbolism like hate crimes - well, it's no way to treat those who worked their butts off to elect you...

I'm baffled by this, I really am. The content of this brief is a massive political error from an administration that is making it impossible for its gay supporters to stay supportive. What's next? A Clintonian political ad boasting of these arguments?

It's now even more important to visibly remind Obama that we are NOT AT ALL HAPPY with the way he and his administration are handling the issues of vital importance to our community. One way to do this is to show up and protest whenever Obama makes any kind of visit to cities and towns outside of Washington.

Queers United has reported that one such visit will be in Chicago TOMORROW MORNING. If you live in Chicago or the surrounding area, you owe it to yourself and your gay brothers and sisters to attend the demonstration that's already planned. Here's the specifics:

Monday, June 15th from 10:30 AM – 12 noon

Hyatt Regency Hotel
151 E. Wacker Drive
(one block east of Michigan Avenue)