Monday, February 14, 2011

Bush Lite

The New York Times asks a pretty good question in one of its editorials today:

The 1996 Defense of Marriage Act is indefensible — officially sanctioned discrimination against one group of Americans imposed during an election year. President Obama seems to know that, or at least he has called on Congress to repeal it. So why do his government’s lawyers continue to defend the act in court?

Why, indeed? Especially why, now?

The law, signed by President Bill Clinton, denies married same-sex couples the federal benefits granted to other married couples, including Social Security survivor payments and the right to file joint tax returns. When December’s repeal of the noxious “don’t ask, don’t tell” law goes into effect, gay, lesbian and bisexual Americans will be able to serve openly in the military but may not be entitled to on-base housing or a spouse’s burial in a national cemetery.

Gays can openly risk their lives in the military, but can't live together on base? Life partners aren't entitled to the same benefits that straight spouses are?

The majority of Americans don't feel terribly threatened by gays, married or unmarried, and most don't ultimately care if gays get the same benefits the rest of the nation is entitled to. Nor should they. Most Americans understand that this discrimination is wrong and is based solely on the fantasies promulgated by the Religious Reich and amplified by the conservative politicians eager for a talking point during election years.

What the Obama Department of Justice should be doing is what any Department of Justice should do: fight discriminatory practices vigorously. Instead, Attorney General Holder is fighting vigorously to keep those practices alive and well.

It's time for that to stop.

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Blogger Joyce L. Arnold said...

Thanks for this. We in the LGBT communities, with the essential support of our allies, are making steps toward full equality. It's disheartening to see the Obama administration's efforts in legal arguments for maintaining DOMA, as they argued to maintain DADT (and as the repeal process continues to enforce DADT). It will be interesting to see how the administration will handle ENDA, assuming it actively enters the legislative process again.

5:57 AM  

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