WASHINGTON (CNN) – Attorney General Eric Holder today sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner, after determining that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, “as applied to same-sex couples who are legally married under state law, violates the equal protection component of the Fifth Amendment.”
The finding came after a review of the Act was conducted, prompted by recent lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of DOMA.
Holder wrote, “the President and I have concluded that classifications based on sexual orientation warrant heightened scrutiny and that, as applied to same-sex couples legally married under state law, Section 3 of DOMA is unconstitutional.”
While the Department will continue to enforce DOMA, it will not defend it, “unless and until Congress repeals Section 3 or the judicial branch renders a definitive verdict against the law’s constitutionality.”
Holder explained why they would continue to enforce the Act because “this course of action respects the actions of the prior Congress that enacted DOMA, and it recognizes the judiciary as the final arbiter of the constitutional claims raised.”
Read the entire letter below the jump.
The Honorable John A. Boehner
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
Re: Defense of Marriage Act
Dear Mr. Speaker:
After careful consideration, including review of a recommendation from me, the President of the United States has made the determination that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”), 1 U.S.C. § 7, as applied to same-sex couples who are legally married under state law, violates the equal protection component of the Fifth Amendment. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 530D, I am writing to advise you of the Executive Branch’s determination and to inform you of the steps the Department will take in two pending DOMA cases to implement that determination.
While the Department has previously defended DOMA against legal challenges involving legally married same-sex couples, recent lawsuits that challenge the constitutionality of DOMA Section 3 have caused the President and the Department to conduct a new examination of the defense of this provision. In particular, in November 2011, plaintiffs filed two new lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of Section 3 of DOMA in jurisdictions without precedent on whether sexual-orientation classifications are subject to rational basis review or whether they must satisfy some form of heightened scrutiny. Windsor v. United States, No. 1:10-cv-8435 (S.D.N.Y.); Pedersen v. OPM, No. 3:10-cv-1750 (D. Conn.). Previously, the Administration has defended Section 3 in jurisdictions where circuit courts have already held that classifications based on sexual orientation are subject to rational basis review, and it has advanced arguments to defend DOMA Section 3 under the binding standard that has applied in those cases.
These new lawsuits, by contrast, will require the Department to take an affirmative position on the level of scrutiny that should be applied to DOMA Section 3 in a circuit without binding precedent on the issue. As described more fully below, the President and I have concluded that classifications based on sexual orientation warrant heightened scrutiny and that, as applied to same-sex couples legally married under state law, Section 3 of DOMA is unconstitutional.
Standard of Review
The Supreme Court has yet to rule on the appropriate level of scrutiny for classifications based on sexual orientation. It has, however, rendered a number of decisions that set forth the criteria that should inform this and any other judgment as to whether heightened scrutiny applies: (1) whether the group in question has suffered a history of discrimination; (2) whether individuals “exhibit obvious, immutable, or distinguishing characteristics that define them as a discrete group”; (3) whether the group is a minority or is politically powerless; and (4) whether the characteristics distinguishing the group have little relation to legitimate policy objectives or to an individual’s “ability to perform or contribute to society.” See Bowen v. Gilliard, 483 U.S. 587, 602-03 (1987); City of Cleburne v. Cleburne Living Ctr., 473 U.S. 432, 441-42 (1985).
Each of these factors counsels in favor of being suspicious of classifications based on sexual orientation. First and most importantly, there is, regrettably, a significant history of purposeful discrimination against gay and lesbian people, by governmental as well as private entities, based on prejudice and stereotypes that continue to have ramifications today. Indeed, until very recently, states have “demean[ed] the existence” of gays and lesbians “by making their private sexual conduct a crime.” Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558, 578 (2003).
Second, while sexual orientation carries no visible badge, a growing scientific consensus accepts that sexual orientation is a characteristic that is immutable, see Richard A. Posner, Sex and Reason 101 (1992); it is undoubtedly unfair to require sexual orientation to be hidden from view to avoid discrimination, see Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010, Pub. L. No. 111-321, 124 Stat. 3515 (2010).
Third, the adoption of laws like those at issue in Romer v. Evans, 517 U.S. 620 (1996), and Lawrence, the longstanding ban on gays and lesbians in the military, and the absence of federal protection for employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation show the group to have limited political power and “ability to attract the [favorable] attention of the lawmakers.” Cleburne, 473 U.S. at 445. And while the enactment of the Matthew Shepard Act and pending repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell indicate that the political process is not closed entirely to gay and lesbian people, that is not the standard by which the Court has judged “political powerlessness.” Indeed, when the Court ruled that gender-based classifications were subject to heightened scrutiny, women already had won major political victories such as the Nineteenth Amendment (right to vote) and protection under Title VII (employment discrimination).
Finally, there is a growing acknowledgment that sexual orientation “bears no relation to ability to perform or contribute to society.” Frontiero v. Richardson, 411 U.S. 677, 686 (1973) (plurality). Recent evolutions in legislation (including the pending repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell), in community practices and attitudes, in case law (including the Supreme Court’s holdings in Lawrence and Romer), and in social science regarding sexual orientation all make clear that sexual orientation is not a characteristic that generally bears on legitimate policy objectives. See, e.g., Statement by the President on the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010 (“It is time to recognize that sacrifice, valor and integrity are no more defined by sexual orientation than they are by race or gender, religion or creed.”)
To be sure, there is substantial circuit court authority applying rational basis review to sexual-orientation classifications. We have carefully examined each of those decisions. Many of them reason only that if consensual same-sex sodomy may be criminalized under Bowers v. Hardwick, then it follows that no heightened review is appropriate – a line of reasoning that does not survive the overruling of Bowers in Lawrence v. Texas, 538 U.S. 558 (2003). Others rely on claims regarding “procreational responsibility” that the Department has disavowed already in litigation as unreasonable, or claims regarding the immutability of sexual orientation that we do not believe can be reconciled with more recent social science understandings. And none engages in an examination of all the factors that the Supreme Court has identified as relevant to a decision about the appropriate level of scrutiny. Finally, many of the more recent decisions have relied on the fact that the Supreme Court has not recognized that gays and lesbians constitute a suspect class or the fact that the Court has applied rational basis review in its most recent decisions addressing classifications based on sexual orientation, Lawrence and Romer. But neither of those decisions reached, let alone resolved, the level of scrutiny issue because in both the Court concluded that the laws could not even survive the more deferential rational basis standard.
Application to Section 3 of DOMA
In reviewing a legislative classification under heightened scrutiny, the government must establish that the classification is “substantially related to an important government objective.” Clark v. Jeter, 486 U.S. 456, 461 (1988). Under heightened scrutiny, “a tenable justification must describe actual state purposes, not rationalizations for actions in fact differently grounded.” United States v. Virginia , 518 U.S. 515, 535-36 (1996). “The justification must be genuine, not hypothesized or invented post hoc in response to litigation.” Id. at 533.
In other words, under heightened scrutiny, the United States cannot defend Section 3 by advancing hypothetical rationales, independent of the legislative record, as it has done in circuits where precedent mandates application of rational basis review. Instead, the United States can defend Section 3 only by invoking Congress’ actual justifications for the law.
Moreover, the legislative record underlying DOMA’s passage contains discussion and debate that undermines any defense under heightened scrutiny. The record 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 Equal Protection Clause is designed to guard against. See Cleburne, 473 U.S. at 448 (“mere negative attitudes, or fear” are not permissible bases for discriminatory treatment); see also Romer, 517 U.S. at 635 (rejecting rationale that law was supported by “the liberties of landlords or employers who have personal or religious objections to homosexuality”); Palmore v. Sidotti, 466 U.S. 429, 433 (1984) (“Private biases may be outside the reach of the law, but the law cannot, directly or indirectly, give them effect.”).
Application to Second Circuit Cases
After careful consideration, including a review of my recommendation, the President has concluded that given a number of factors, including a documented history of discrimination, classifications based on sexual orientation should be subject to a heightened standard of scrutiny. The President has also concluded that Section 3 of DOMA, as applied to legally married same-sex couples, fails to meet that standard and is therefore unconstitutional. Given that conclusion, the President has instructed the Department not to defend the statute in Windsor and Pedersen, now pending in the Southern District of New York and the District of Connecticut. I concur in this determination.
Notwithstanding this determination, the President has informed me that Section 3 will continue to be enforced by the Executive Branch. To that end, the President has instructed Executive agencies to continue to comply with Section 3 of DOMA, consistent with the Executive’s obligation to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, unless and until Congress repeals Section 3 or the judicial branch renders a definitive verdict against the law’s constitutionality. This course of action respects the actions of the prior Congress that enacted DOMA, and it recognizes the judiciary as the final arbiter of the constitutional claims raised.
As you know, the Department has a longstanding practice of defending the constitutionality of duly-enacted statutes if reasonable arguments can be made in their defense, a practice that accords the respect appropriately due to a coequal branch of government. However, the Department in the past has declined to defend statutes despite the availability of professionally responsible arguments, in part because the Department does not consider every plausible argument to be a “reasonable” one. “[D]ifferent cases can raise very different issues with respect to statutes of doubtful constitutional validity,” and thus there are “a variety of factors that bear on whether the Department will defend the constitutionality of a statute.” Letter to Hon. Orrin G. Hatch from Assistant Attorney General Andrew Fois at 7 (Mar. 22, 1996). This is the rare case where the proper course is to forgo the defense of this statute. Moreover, the Department has declined to defend a statute “in cases in which it is manifest that the President has concluded that the statute is unconstitutional,” as is the case here. Seth P. Waxman, Defending Congress, 79 N.C. L.Rev. 1073, 1083 (2001).
In light of the foregoing, I will instruct the Department’s lawyers to immediately inform the district courts in Windsor and Pedersen of the Executive Branch’s view that heightened scrutiny is the appropriate standard of review and that, consistent with that standard, Section 3 of DOMA may not be constitutionally applied to same-sex couples whose marriages are legally recognized under state law. If asked by the district courts in the Second Circuit for the position of the United States in the event those courts determine that the applicable standard is rational basis, the Department will state that, consistent with the position it has taken in prior cases, a reasonable argument for Section 3’s constitutionality may be proffered under that permissive standard. Our attorneys will also notify the courts of our interest in providing Congress a full and fair opportunity to participate in the litigation in those cases. We will remain parties to the case and continue to represent the interests of the United States throughout the litigation.
Furthermore, pursuant to the President’s instructions, and upon further notification to Congress, I will instruct Department attorneys to advise courts in other pending DOMA litigation of the President's and my conclusions that a heightened standard should apply, that Section 3 is unconstitutional under that standard and that the Department will cease defense of Section 3.
A motion to dismiss in the Windsor and Pedersen cases would be due on March 11, 2011. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.
Eric H. Holder, Jr.
i DOMA Section 3 states: “In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the United States, the word ‘marriage’ means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word ‘spouse’ refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.”
ii See, e.g., Dragovich v. U.S. Department of the Treasury, 2011 WL 175502 (N.D. Cal. Jan. 18, 2011); Gill v. Office of Personnel Management, 699 F. Supp. 2d 374 (D. Mass. 2010); Smelt v. County of Orange, 374 F. Supp. 2d 861, 880 (C.D. Cal.,2005); Wilson v. Ake, 354 F.Supp.2d 1298, 1308 (M.D. Fla. 2005); In re Kandu, 315 B.R. 123, 145 (Bkrtcy. W.D. Wash. 2004); In re Levenson, 587 F.3d 925, 931 (9th Cir. E.D.R. Plan Administrative Ruling 2009).
iii While significant, that history of discrimination is different in some respects from the discrimination that burdened African-Americans and women. See Adarand Constructors, Inc. v. Pena, 515 U.S. 200, 216 (1995) (classifications based on race “must be viewed in light of the historical fact that the central purpose of the Fourteenth Amendment was to eliminate racial discrimination emanating from official sources in the States,” and “[t]his strong policy renders racial classifications ‘constitutionally suspect.’”); United States v. Virginia, 518 U.S. 515, 531 (1996) (observing that “‘our Nation has had a long and unfortunate history of sex discrimination’” and pointing out the denial of the right to vote to women until 1920). In the case of sexual orientation, some of the discrimination has been based on the incorrect belief that sexual orientation is a behavioral characteristic that can be changed or subject to moral approbation. Cf. Cleburne, 473 U.S. at 441 (heightened scrutiny may be warranted for characteristics “beyond the individual’s control” and that “very likely reflect outmoded notions of the relative capabilities of” the group at issue); Boy Scouts of America v. Dale, 530 U.S. 640 (2000) (Stevens, J., dissenting) (“Unfavorable opinions about homosexuals ‘have ancient roots.’” (quoting Bowers, 478 U.S. at 192)).
iv See Equality Foundation v. City of Cincinnati, 54 F.3d 261, 266–67 & n. 2. (6th Cir. 1995); Steffan v. Perry, 41 F.3d 677, 685 (D.C. Cir. 1994); Woodward v. United States, 871 F.2d 1068, 1076 (Fed. Cir. 1989); Ben-Shalom v. Marsh, 881 F.2d 454, 464 (7th Cir. 1989); Padula v. Webster, 822 F.2d 97, 103 (D.C. Cir. 1987).
v See, e.g., Lofton v. Secretary of the Dep’t of Children & Family Servs., 358 F.3d 804, 818 (11th Cir. 2004) (discussing child-rearing rationale); High Tech Gays v. Defense Indust. Sec. Clearance Office, 895 F.2d 563, 571 (9th Cir. 1990) (discussing immutability). As noted, this Administration has already disavowed in litigation the argument that DOMA serves a governmental interest in “responsible procreation and child-rearing.” H.R. Rep. No. 104-664, at 13. As the Department has explained in numerous filings, since the enactment of DOMA, many leading medical, psychological, and social welfare organizations have concluded, based on numerous studies, that children raised by gay and lesbian parents are as likely to be well-adjusted as children raised by heterosexual parents.
vi See Cook v. Gates, 528 F.3d 42, 61 (1st Cir. 2008); Citizens for Equal Prot. v. Bruning, 455 F.3d 859, 866 (8th Cir. 2006); Johnson v. Johnson, 385 F.3d 503, 532 (5th Cir. 2004); Veney v. Wyche, 293 F.3d 726, 732 (4th Cir. 2002); Equality Foundation of Greater Cincinnati, Inc. v. City of Cincinnati, 128 F.3d 289, 292-94 (6th Cir. 1997).
vii See, e.g., H.R. Rep. at 15–16 (judgment [opposing same-sex marriage] entails both moral disapproval of homosexuality and a moral conviction that heterosexuality better comports with traditional (especially Judeo-Christian) morality”); id. at 16 (same-sex marriage “legitimates a public union, a legal status that most people . . . feel ought to be illegitimate” and “put[s] a stamp of approval . . . on a union that many people . . . think is immoral”); id. at 15 (“Civil laws that permit only heterosexual marriage reflect and honor a collective moral judgment about human sexuality”); id. (reasons behind heterosexual marriage—procreation and child-rearing—are “in accord with nature and hence have a moral component”); id. at 31 (favorably citing the holding in Bowers that an “anti-sodomy law served the rational purpose of expressing the presumed belief . . . that homosexual sodomy is immoral and unacceptable”); id. at 17 n.56 (favorably citing statement in dissenting opinion in Romer that “[t]his Court has no business . . . pronouncing that ‘animosity’ toward homosexuality is evil”).
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im sorry and bow to the almighty powers of eric holder I DID NOT KNOW HE WAS THE SUPREME RULER OF THE SUPREME COURT AND THE SOLE PERSON IN THIS COUNTRY THAT CAN DECLARE A LAW UNCONSTITUTIONAL. IS IT NOT HIS JOB TO DEFEND ALL LAWS PASSED BY CONGRESS TILL THE SUPREME COURT DECLARES IT UNCONSTITUTIONAL.
i am in no way against gay marriage but i am against poeple in the government thinking they can take it upon them selfs to overide the laws of the land. if eric holder thinks this is unconstitutional he should follow the law and take it to the supreme court.
He says right in his statement that the Supreme Court has the final say, and that they will continue to enforce the law until the court rules against it. They're just not going to be the ones to defend it in court.
I dont know why cnn posted the letter... republicans can't read... at least comprehend...
Apparently "rights of the people" is too busy exercising his right to free speech to bother exercising the gray matter upstairs by actually reading what he's complaining about.
It's his job as an attorney and thus an officer of the court to only raises defenses that are legally sufficient. He has simply assessed that in the second circuit, which has no precedent on the appropriate level of scrutiny to apply, he could not reasonably raise an argument to apply rational basis scrutiny. Thus, as an officer of the court he could not argue for rational basis and since section 3 of DOMA fails heightened scrutiny he could not defend it.
Isn't it GRAND that we no longer need a court system to tell us whether a bill validly passed by Congress and signed into law by a prior administration is Constitutional or not. No more bothering with that messy seperation of powers, or checks and balances Monroe v. Maddison stuff. We have almighty Obama and Holder to do that now in an absolute break with prior precident that Executive defend the laws of the land against court challanges. Can't wait till the Republicans take over the White House and get to use this new Power. Nice power grab Obama.
Um, I'm sorry but can you explain to me the difference between the arrogance of the Obama administration not agreeing to pursue this law compaired to arrogance of the Republican controlled House that plans on blocking funding for the Obama Care which is law?
Thank you I didnt think you could answer that one... crickets....
You and the republicans are really lost!
if you really dont like what the government is doing then read up on how to overthrow the govenment (nonviolently). There are legal ways to do this...unless we have given the federal government to much power which in my opinion we have...
I guess then the next President and his minimons can claim that all the crap that Obama and the Democrats passed in the last two years – including Health Care – is unConstitutional and uneforceable. I support gay marriage and don't care whom marries whom, but this is not the way the Executive Branch was designed. Enforce and Prosecute the laws passed by the Legislative branch and let the Judicial decide what is Constitutional and what is not. Mr Holder and President Obama do your job and propose changes to laws that you don't like. OR BETTER YET>>>FOCUS ON JOBS AND THE NATIONAL DEBT FIRST!!!!
How does it feel to have ZERO idea what you are talking about.
:Its like you read my mind! You appear to know a lot about this, like you wrote the book in it or shtemoing. I think that you could do with a few pics to drive the message home a little bit, but other than that, this is excellent blog. An excellent read. I will certainly be back.Thank you for the good writeup. It in fact was a amusement account it. Look advanced to more added agreeable from you! However, how could we communicate?
i think they should take it to the supreme court. If they have already defended cases similar to this one, why the sudden change and saying its "unconstitutional"
WELL IT'S ABOUT TIME! The Obama Administration obvious dropped its defense of DOMA, because from a Constitutional standpoint there is no defense! DOMA sets up differing legal standards for Gay and Straight couples. Because of DOMA, even Gay couples who are legally married in Iowa or Massachusetts are unrecognized by the federal government for the purposes of tax law and Social Security; obvious this violates the 14th Amendment. Also, such couples become "UN-married" if they move across state lines, so DOMA violates the "Full Faith & Credit" clause. Thank goodness DOMA's days are finally numbered!
How naive can you get?? The president blithely decides that a law that was passed by majority vote in the House and the Senate no longer applies.?Just because he says so? What monumental arrogance! This sets a very dangerous precedence: what law will he not defend next? Maybe YOUR freedom of speech? The American people had spoken (remember We the people...?), the votes were cast and counted, passed by both Senate and House and signed into law by Bill Clinton. For what? Our country has enough problems without this megalomaniac.
Obama is not setting a precendent. Both Bush and Clinton have done similar things with laws they saw as unconstiutional.
In addition to our President being a community oganizer, he was a constitutional law professor at Harvard. So, I believe that he knows how to analyze the Constituion.
and its ok to you for the Republican controlled House to block funding of the HealthCare reform bill which was signed into law? Can you and your base of wingnut teabaggers be any more hypocritical? Obviously the answer is yes.
There is so much that's wrong with your statement I'm nearly at a lost as to where to do so. However, that said, when it comes to Presidents who 'blithely decides' which laws they will and will not follow, Bush takes the cake. I hope all fo that moral outrage was present during his administration.
The fact is that it does not take a law degree, which like the President I have, to understand that the DoMA is unconstitutional. I reckon that given the opportunity anyone with a sound, unbiased – reasonable mind, and a 7th grade education, could easily reach the same conclusion. The fact that so many fail to appreciate this as a fact due to wilful ignorance is tiresome.
I love your points. Let's see, I can marry my donkey, because I can't be discriminated against. I can marry five wives and we all get to share government benefits because we don't want to discriminate. I'm for gay marriage, but jeez let the courts decide...not Obama and Holder...Your argument is complete nonsense....Holder isn't the Judicial branch...
I agree that obama and holden should not make the decisions and that it should be the courts. that is their job after all
It is nice to see that the federal government is getting out of the business of marriage, one painful step at a time. Perhaps one day all government will get out of the business of two people and their commitment to loving each other.
... or loving three or more.
It actually is not the provisions of the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States that makes DOMA unconstitutional. Take a second to actually read the document (which is not very long), and you will realize that it is Article IV, section 1, also known as the "Full Faith and Credit" clause, that actually makes DOMA unconstitutional. The clause reads: "Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State. And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof." Therefore the Constitution tells us boys and girls that a gay marriage in Vermont must CONSTITUTIONALLY be recognized by the state of Texas or Alabama or any other collection of states. If we as citizens of this country didn't have our heads up our asses DOMA would have never been made into a law. WAKE UP!
Hey...just 3 to 4 days ago high winds blew down the pagan (White House) National Christmas tree. What's next in line....FIRE AND BRIMSTONE. LOL.
1. High winds can blow anything down without it being called "God's Punishment"
2. Almost every tradition regarding Christmas has roots in paganism. Even your beloved tree, stockings, and the date (Christ was actually born sometime in March, the date was moved to appease the pagans who didn't like losing Saturnalia) has roots in pagan religious ceremonies
I really don't mean to too much get into your business about your #2 statement but Christ was not born im March or even near the begining of the 'year in question'. Jesus Christ was born sometime in the "harvest season" ( between july – october), that's why there were no room in the inn or anywhere. Maybe you should find that fact out.
The End is Near!
I'll try to put this to good use imdmeaietly.
Gays already have the same rights as straight...to marry someone of the opposite sex. Marrying whoever you want is NOT a right. Some people want to marry someone who is already married; too bad, they can't. Same-sex marriages are unnatural. The word "marriage" has the same root as "mate", which implies reproducing, which a same-sex couple cannot do. Even love in marriage is not a right. but rather the result of the choices made.
But they "feel" that they want to marry–is that enough? Some people "feel" like committing murder or pedophilia, but we know those things should never be legalized. Some people "feel" like stealing, but we're not going to legalize that. Feelings alone do not justify changing law.
Gay rights are not like women's rights or blacks' rights. Those groups were given limited rights, with the old laws enforcing discrimination. Current laws already make it illegal to discriminate based on gender, skin color, or sexual preference. When it comes to marriage, gays don't ask for EQUAL rights (see first sentence), they want special rights.There's no discrimination in denying same-sex marriage.
The biggest argument for gay marriage is that married couples get certain other rights from marriage–tax breaks, mostly. Whether it's filing income taxes in the spring, or an estate going thru probate, a married couple does get certain tax benefits. Any couple (straight or not) who lives together without marrying loses out on these benefits. For example, a non-married couple has to take extra precautions just to make sure their partner inherits property that would transfer seamlessly if the couple were married. The thing is, there are too many tax breaks for married couples. From personal experience, it's ridiculous how little a married couple gets taxed–a family making almost six figures should never qualify for EIC, and should not be able to get a refund that exceeds what they paid. Yet it happens all the time.
How about fixing the tax laws, and reducing government so it doesn't "need" so much funding in the first place. Non-married couples, gay or straight, should educate themselves about the laws and what they can do regarding taxes and estate transfer (married couples should learn about this, too, instead of blindly assuming everything will take care of itself).
How, exactly, is wanting to do the same things straight people can do wanting special things? You'll be docked points every time you mention murder or child molesting, as they have nothing whatsoever to do with the topic at hand.
You are a Moron, since you obviously have no moral values, you simply just want to twist everything around and make things into something their not by taking what someone says out of context. get a life and leavethe keyboard alone.
The claim that both gays and straights have the right to marry someone of the opposite sex is like saying both the rich and poor have the right to sleep under a bridge. If the point of marriage is procreation (not quite the same thing as "mating", by the way) then infertile couples should not be allowed to marry, the law should require the production of a child within some period after a couple is married, childless marriages should be dissolved once the couple is past the age to bear children, fertility tests would be required before marriage, women who (because of some disease) had their uteruses removed would be forbidden to marry, and so on and so on. The key question: If, suddenly, tomorrow we were all rendered infertile, would you ask for a constitutional amendment that forbid marriage? If a device that would infallibly determine fertility invented tomorrow, would you require all couples to be examined with it before they would be permitted to marry? If bearing children is so essential to marriage why doesn't it appear in any marriage ceremony along with "love, honor, and obey" and "cleave to each other, forsaking all others"? Why is infertility not grounds for divorce as is, for instance, infidelity. Please at least pretend to think through your claims before making them.
peter for this amazing response i want to gay marry you in vegas
that was awesome.
The biggest argument for gay marriage is that it's not the government's business to prevent people of a homosexual sexuality from getting married, as it serves no greater purpose. Infertile and old couples can marry despite not reproducing. Straight couples do /not/ always raise straight children, so Gay couples will /not/ always raise gay children, and if we didn't want children to have no father or mother, we would make people raise children in a father-mother environment (which we don't).
Frankly, my sexuality is who I am. I can't change it anymore than you can change what turns you on. And even logically, would anyone really choose to be gay in a society where it's been so condemned that straight people have beaten gays to death for their sexuality? No, no no. It'd be a stupid move, and if it were a choice I'm sure that there'd be less people who were gay.
Aside from this, I wasn't aware homosexuality was such a grave threat to every straight marriage that a "Defense of Marriage Act" was even necessary. Does the sight of two men kissing bother you?
"All men are created equal, endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among them are, Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness." If citizens consider marriage in their "pursuit of happiness," let them. The Declaration of Independence does not state Heterosexuals only in their pursuit of happiness.
Reality check, I think your arguments would be a lot stronger if they were logically sound. I advise you to read the following article regarding the use of fallacious arguments, http://www.don-lindsay-archive.org/skeptic/arguments.html. After you understand the basic structure of an argument, then apply the rules to your own and repost. Until that's accomplished there doesn't appear to be the need to address the substance of your discussion.
well seeing as there is a seperation of church and state, and marrage has been around before christianity (not always between a man and a woman) it is christian beliefs that marrage should be between a man and a woman. so should gays not be allowed to get married and be misrable like everyone else?
You throw around the word "natural" as though you knew anything about what you are talking about. The fact is 7% of all the members of all species on the planet Earth exhibit same sex behavior, yep fish, apes, humans, all species, even insects. Why ? No one has the answer, but they do. It's as "natural" as breathing. So before you start throwing around words you don't know the meaning of, get your facts straight.
First. What do you have to lose if two people marry? How does that effect you in any way? How is it any of your business who marries who?
Are you joking?
Difference in gay marriage and murder/molestation.
Since you are too stupid to know the difference her it is:
Being in love and willing to do anything for someone – they should be allowed to marry.
No one is injured or hurt because two guys or two girls got married.
However, murder and molestation , people are hurt.
Can you be that stupid and ignorant of life in general?
It isn't just about money. It is about being able to make decisions in hospitals, visitation in hospital, sharing with the rest of their family how they are committed to each other.
It is about those in the military as well, as a married couple they can stay on base. Non-married people can not.
On the money side, there are benefits that marriage gives people.
When a someone dies in a straight marriage, the spouse will collect the higher of the two social security incomes.
They file together, this can make a big difference if one person makes significantly more than the other. Don'e believe it, do your taxes independently and then together and see the difference.
The list of advantages to marriage continues even into insurance. Car insurance for someone 22 that is single is far higher than the same person that is married. They feel married people are more stable and less likely to get into car accidents. Silly.
Whether you like gay people or hate them, your bigotry will never stop two people from loving each other. Too bad for you.
Coming soon, gay people will continue to serve their country with pride and will be able to marry the one they love dearly.
(Stop divorce first then consider halting marriages).
Bet you hated bi-racial marriages too ... I think the case then was 'making spotted children'.
If it were a choice, that means that you could chose to be gay as well.
There is no current 'equality' right now.
If you think only your religion is right and your religion sets the standards, then you don't believe in freedom.
Whether it is freedom of speech, or freedom of religion.
The reason people moved her from England was for the imposed religion on them. We have several religions in America. What if one decided that YOUR religion was unnatural and didn't want you to have your opposite sex spouse?
Additionally, why would you care what someone else does? Keeping two people from marrying doesn't change the way they love each other, or their commitment, it only changes their legal status and any type of monetary benefits from Social Security when one passes away and a few other things.
Religion and Government should be separate – hence the no taxes for the church.
Gay marriage hurts no one.
What kind of parent would not want their child to be happy?
Your religion is yours and doesn't match mine, but it doesn't mean either is correct.
I won't change your religion and you don't change mine....
if you think that by my marrying carol, it is going to somehow ruin or damage YOUR MARRIAGE, then you've got bigger problems in your marriage than me & carol. we personally do not want to get married in your church and isn't your "place of worship" ceremony what really makes your marriage special to you? we'll get married in our own church, thank you ! as LEGAL citizens of this fine country OF OURS, we want the same rights as the rest of the LEGAL citizens of this fine country of ours. NO MORE...NO LESS. i'm talking marriage folks , not holy matrimony as i have referred to earlier in this subject line. i find it pretty sad that myself as a log cabin republican always has to rely on the democratic president to do the right thing on this issue.
I had always thought that a republican-gayrights-activist was an oxymoron. Learn something new everyday. My personal philosophy, if you don't agree with gay-marriage, then don't marry a person of the same sex. See, problem solved. Now who wants to talk about plotting to win the lottery together?
Obama has to follow the rule of law. He swore to uphold the constitution and he can't just deem a law he doesn't like unconstitutional. The constitution lays out the process everyone has to follow and only the courts can find something unconstitutional. If can get away with this then so can a Republican president with another law... Say Roe vs Wade.
Roe V Wade is not a law. It was a supreme court ruling.
Reiner, Supreme Court Rulings are law. In American jurisprudence laws come in three types: 1) Constitutional; 2) Statutory; and 3) Common law (or case law). If there is no law on point (either constitutional or statutory), and no previously determined common law regarding the issue in question, then the Supreme Court (or even a lower court) will interpret the relevant law and try to determine the legislative intent. Sometimes if a court makes a ruling the legislature does not like it will attempt to pass new legislation to rewrite the applicable statutes, effectively overriding the common law.
I'm not sure how he's not following the rule of law. The Executive branch is entrusted with enforcing law that Congress passes. If there are two jurisdictions that have different interpretations in applying the equal protection clause (one heightened scrutiny, the other rational basis), and Congress has not passed legislation indicating otherwise, then enforcing the higher standard is following the law. It seems completely within the discretion of the Executive branch.
the Republican controlled house has stated they will block any funding to the Health Care bill – whichis signed into law by the way. So tell me wingnut, this is ok for you? Of course its ok foryou because you dont agree with it. So that ends your argument right there. crickets.....
"After careful consideration, including review of a recommendation from me, the President of the United States has made the determination that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”), 1 U.S.C. § 7, as applied to same-sex couples who are legally married under state law, violates the equal protection component of the Fifth Amendment. "
Wouldn't that refer to the 14th Amendment instead of the 5th?
No the fifth amendment applies to the federal government, the 14th amendment only applies to the states. However, both contain the same equal protection clause.
The 5th amendment does not have an equal protection clause.
This is fantastic! This discrimination needs to be put to rest, and this is another nail in the coffin.
sure, this is fantastic! Let lawlessness reign. All hail the Mighty O, sovereign King of the U.S. who by his will and word rules supreme! Heck, why do we need that silly piece of paper called the Constitution anyway? After all, when one has the power to lower the sea levels, one can do what what wants. God help us!
I love how the president, who just happened to be a constitutional law professor-and was editor of the Harvard Law Review, doesn't have the knowledge to interpret the Constitution of the United States. You have a great argument. Fantastic! Please, inform us of how to solve the issue of world peace................................so that we know exactly what NOT to do.
You clearly have no idea how the government works. The President and the DOJ were merely releasing a STATEMENT describing their stance on the issue – nothing more, nothing less. The purpose of the statement is to stir debate on the issue. If you think that Obama proposing his stance changes a law, you need to take a basic high school government class. Also, how could you infer that Obama is ignoring the tenets of the Constitution when, in fact, the DOMA is legitimately unconstitutional. Anyone who thinks otherwise needs to reread it.
Please show me where in the Constitution it says that gay people can't marry. Show me where it states that people only have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness if they first conform to the Christian norm.
Isn't it GRAND that we no longer need a court system to tell us whether a bill validly passed by Congress and signed into law by a prior administration is Constitutional or not. No more bothering with that messy seperation of powers, or checks and balances Monroe v. Maddison stuff. We have almighty Obama and Holder to do that now in an absolute break with prior precident. Can't wait till the Republicans take over the White House and get to use this new Power. Nice power grab Obama.
Oh please, get over yourself.
There is no so-called "power grab" as you so ignorantly assert. He's not changing any laws. A long-standing function of the President is to release his stances on current issues, and that is ALL he is doing.
I think that Obama should go through all of the same legal proceedings that we do, so in effect he can't just "say" this is unconstitutional. HOWEVER, I do believe DOM is wrong and definitely based on religion. Come on people, our founders were not Christian. They were DEIST. That's quite a difference. They let others practice their own religion as long as it didn't interfere with their lives. Why should we step into the lives of Gays and Lesbians who want to get married. These are normal and sane people who are the same as straight people except for what they are sexually attracted to. They aren't pedophiles, they aren't animals any more than straight people are, they are the same as normal people. And if this is about taxes, then well why not berate those straight couples who make a gazilliion dollars a year with these tax breaks? Gay people are not asking for "special rights", they are asking for the government to stay out of their lives, a mainly Republican view, like staying out of their pockets. However, the Democrats are apparently more on board with social liberalism. Why can't the Republicans (as a whole) accept the fact that being gay/lesbian is as normal as anything? It happens throughout nature and we just happen to be a part of nature.
As previously stated. The President was a Constitional lawyer at Harvard so, I think that he does have the ability to analyze the Constitution. What are your credentials?
Don't take much to impress you emoting social liberals. For you folks fluff means more than substance and Obama is all fluff and no substance unless you will admit he is full of fecal matter.
you gotta be kidding... fluff is all republicans have... ignorant tea baggers
When you think about all of those church foilks who have demeaned homosexuality for decades when in fact the weight of the scientific evidence shows that homosexuality is immutable.
When you think about all of the damage they have done to their and our children and families.
I think each State should have some say in this debate. Can Obama possibly stick to what he needs to do right now, rather than constantly be on the campaign trail. Holy Capoly, fix the problems we have now please! DOMA can wait until gas prices are down, people are employed, Arab countries settle down. I am all for gay unions, not doubt about it, but priority is priority. I know Obama will win the next election, only once has a sitting President who re-ran has not won. However, we are begging, fix this country. No new ideas, or policies, for the sake of making history. I know where you are going with all of this garbage.
I thought the president was supposed to defend the laws, not choose which law he likes, he has failed to follow his oath, and this should be brought forward.
Um, The Republican controlled House also swore to defend the laws howeve they have stated they will block any funding for the new health Care LAW...so.. its ok for Repukes to do this but not Dems?.... crickets....
His sworn oath is to defend the constitution...
In contrast to these post, you can get a thoughtful treatment of this issue by going to http://www.scribd.com/Robert-George-et-al-on-What-is-Marriage/d/44871707 for an article from the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy by Robert George (McCormick Professor of Jursiprudence at Princeton University). Those who think reason is on the side of the marriage revisionists may be surprised at where this giant of judicial scholarship comes down!
OKAY! OKAY! So now! Since we have been thrusted into the war of words and interpretations of the civil and equal rights laws for men being married to men and women being married to women, when are we going to open up the civil and equal rights issue of 'common-law' living, between one man and one woman; which has been deemed illegitimate, illegal and unlawful in most states? I think that is an invasion of a man and womans civil rights, especially if they're fully mature, love and care for one another!
@Liz Carter in georgia: um, are you serious?? What exactly are you asking for for live in lovers? equal rights to what? You want equal rights then get married you have that option gay people dont! Dumbest comment so far.
@ssblakeley, don't try to untangle the mind of Liz. Oscar Wilde said it best "Women are meant to be loved, not to be understood."
hey all you members of SCOTUS ... you are now obsolete. Please turn in your robes at the end of business today! We no longer need your services .... the emporer and his privy council have spoken....
Moderate this fool
Attention! Will all members of SCOTUS please turn in your robes at the end of business today. All future cases will be decided by Eric Holder!
The libs and ignorant left won't understand SCOTUS, because they don't even know the POTUS.
If God had intended there to be Gay Marriage he would have made Adam and Steve and Steve would blow a baby out his butt. Now we have Gay Sensitive training in the Marines. Are you kidding me. Time for the country to split – East Coast and West Coast can become the United Socialists Lands of Fruits and Nuts.
you are a cool aid drinker...
U must believe a cosmic jewish zombie who was his own father can make U live forever if u symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him u accept him as ur master, so he can remove an evil force from ur soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree.
Completely rational if you ask me
myles, are you specifically targeting Catholics with this inane rant? The protestant religions don't believe that the bread and wine actually become the body and blood of Christ. Or are you looking down your nose so much that the facts don't matter?
WHAT THE ATT. GEN. SHOULD HAVE DECLARED UNCONSTITUTIONAL IS
OBAMACARE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! . PERIOD.
yeah.. who want people to have insurance when they get sick... and everyone does get sick eventually idiots... so that the tax payer that actually is responsible enough to carry insurance doesnt have to float the bill for your welfare republican free loaders... shut up and go find a way to give banks and corporations more welfare... thats what you tea baggers are good at...
Republican free loaders????? again down the nose so much that facts don't matter
Of course not, why pay $50 per month for their insurance when we can wait until they get sick and pay $2400 for an ER visit for a cold or any other slight health issue each month.
Only a republican would be so short sighted and greedy. Too bad they didn't read the part in the bible that they always refer to which tells of Jesus helping the poor and needy. They do just the opposite. I believe it is called two faced.
Nick, there are other answers. Such as the hospital not charging us $2,400 for the ER visit. They should quickly assess the patient, determine that it is non emergency, then send them to a lower cost clinic. The other answer is that the person could go to a county, or city clinic themselves. Giving everyone insurance will not solve the problem. We have to change the way people are using the existing medical system.
I think that if Liberals would join the effort to save money, not just see spending as the answer, then we could make positive changes to our healthcare system.
The spending by isn't the only problem really...
Lawsuits for everything medical is making costs go up. Suing a company for a known side effect. I work in the ER and previously in Dr office and EMT, I have seen what comes in. Hundreds of drunk people. The police are required to call ambulance for anyone unconscious on the street, which Ambl takes to ER then to jail to sleep off – then repeat cycle. Others are similar stupid things that ER isn't for. ER is suppose to be for life threatening or very serious injuries. A broken arm during the day isn't an emergency.
Healthy people work and pay back into the system via taxes. Which in turn helps pay the health care.
The free clinics that are around are getting funding cuts (republicans don't like so called handouts) Although Jesus helped the poor.
As far as spending, no one noticed that one day of war will pay several years of insurance premiums... Current was is $1 Billion per day. Ouch.
With the each pay their own health insurance thought, then it is really fair for each parent to pay for their own kids education from Kindergarten up. If you don't have any kids, I am sure you hate to pay for someone else's kids to be educated.
But the issue was Marriage. I hear 'protect marriage' from people but I don't see any clause that prohibits divorce.
Obama makes a person wonder just when the riots will start in America to get rid of the dictator in the making now occupying the house on Pennsylvania Avenue. This is the most divisive president of all times. Obama thinks on the level of the Mugabe dictator from Zimbabwe once the breadbasket of Africa and like the direction America is headed, a cesspool of corruption. I am glad that Obama was never in the military. I would feel afraid for the poor soldier who had to serve by such a sniveling narcissistic coward.
and you were never a soldier... just keep your ignorant butt wrapped tightly in your flag... close your eyes until 2016 and everything will be all right...
Where was your concern for the military personnel while Bush was sending them off to a useless and exceptionally expensive war? Even though the facts said that these people weren't blame, off we went. "I'm a war president'... "Bring it on". Seems like another school bully mentality to me.
10 years later and no difference really, still trying to avoid terrorist. Never solved the problem nor found what they are so mad about.
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Obozo has violated his promise to support DOMA and his Presidential vow to uphold the laws of the land.
He is using his power to satisfy his (gay) constituents. He is trying to justify a wicked and perverse lifestyle.
He cannot, I say again, he cannot declare a law unconstitutional. Is he a one man government? As Knewt said, if Palin did the same for Abortion, the left would have a cow and then some. We have a crisis here and Obozo needs to be impeached in due time. Godless and wicked.
Stupid, read the article.
@ssblakeley; I may have not been clear enough with my previous post and I apologize. At the risk of trying not to look 'dumb' again, what I was asking for was that the LAW returns to acknowledging 'COMMON-LAW' between man and woman as a 'legal relationship' or partnership. There are many people who love one another, who live like husband and wife, who'd rather dictate the status of their own relationship! There was a time when 'commonlaw' was acceptable in many states, even with the IRS tax return filings.
I'm sorry but your posts are nonsense. These str8 people you talk about living together have an option to get all of these tax breaks etc that gay people do not... its called GETTING MARRIED!!! What part of this whole debate dont you understand?? Your points make ne sense at all. if you chose to live together and not get married well then too bad no tax breaks from the feds period. BUT you have the choice of either life style, live together or get married and benefit from the tax breaks. Gay people DO NOT have that choice. Get it now?
you would think you might waste your time on corporate loop hools that really rip us off other than this idiotic argument... if straight are marrying straight for a tax break id like to see one... your an idiot
There was a time when a man and woman as husband and wife for at least 7 years and had witnesses to their relationship as such, they were considered and accepted as a legally 'married couple'. They were covered on each others insurances with no real question and of course filed joint state and federal taxes with no question. I know several people who live that way right now, except they are now afraid to file or cover themselves on each others insurances! Some have been together upwards of 25 years.
republicans really do fantasize about the dark ages... my god!
Miles, you're calling me an idiot when it is in fact you that has no idea what we are talking about? Thats novel.
OSCAR WILDE was right, Jay for the most part; but I hope I've made myself a little more clearer or understandable on that point.@ssblakeley; LGBT do have the right to live together as lovers, just like heterosexuals. Now they want the right to get married, and to recieve all of the perks a tradional marriage intels. I was suggesting that a validated heterosexual 'common-law' living arrangement be reinstated and those perks, ie., insurance, wills, taxes, etc., also be available to them. Get it now?
Ya I get it, youre asking for something that is already offered to you. MARRIAGE! If you chose to live together and not get married well then tough luck no perks. What you dont seem to get is that gays DONT have a choice.
Separate but equal is never equal. It makes no sense to create an entire marriage sub-class for some folks, simply becasue you don't like/understand them.
Obama took an oath to uphold the laws of this land and in saying he and his AG Holder will basically ignore the law is a breech of that oath and therefore he can and should be impeached.
Your reading comprehension is weak at best. Please point out the part of the article/letter where the Administration states they are ignoring any part of the law.
Whether the AG wants to admit it or not, in fact the same applies to you.... The statement that the AG and his deparment will no longer defend the law is a clear signal that parties involved are able to steam full speed ahead.
Don't worry the Republican activist judges on the supreme court will overlook the constitution on this one
I am sure that 4 conservatives, 4 liberals and a swing vote really represent the fear you exhibit here that Conservative activist judges are that much in control of the supreme court. Seems like a good mix to me
President Obama, like President Bush before him (and presidents Clinton and Bush before them), is a shining example of what is is to be a "cafeteria Constitutionalist".
The best questions I can pose is, What business is it of anyone's on who someone marries? This isn't 1700's when marriages were arraigned, but it sure seems like it. People I don't know are trying to tell me or someone else who they can't marry.
What makes people think that their religion is better or more right than someone elses? What makes your God better than mine?
If you want to start protecting straight marriages then the best solution is to make divorce illegal. Duhh.
These same people who wave their bible also cringe when the preacher knocks on their door on sunday morning to talk for two hours about how they are missed in church and how the family is doing. Seems someone butting into their religion then isn't so great. But the difference is it only bothers you for the few hours that the preacher is there, it ruins my life every minute of every day.
Bottom line: MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS.
Read your own bible : Those without sin cast the first stone.
If you feel your God hates someone, then maybe you have the wrong God. But that is your business.
Additionally, if you think so badly about gay people going to hell, why would you want to get us to go to heaven to be with you for eternity?
@SSBlakely; what is so hard about it? All I'm saying is EVERY MAN AND WOMAN DOESN'T WANT NOR CARE FOR BEING TRADITIONALLY OR CIVILLY 'MARRIED'! ESPECIALLY IF THEY'VE BEEN THERE AND DONE A COUPLE OF TIMES BEFORE! HOWEVER, THEIR JOINTED RELATIONSHIPS SHOULD BE LEGALLY STATUSED WITH THE SAME 'PERKS', UNDER 'COMMOM-LAW'! What is so 'nonsense' about that? My goodness! I'm through with it, OK?
Ya and Im through with trying to explain to you that your argument is rediculous and has no merit within the context of this thread. Str8 people have the option to marry or not. Gay people do not. End of story. You want to live with someone, good for you but dont expect to get the same benefits as a married couple do. You have the right and choice to not marry Gay people do not. Get it? Didnt think so.
with all the problems around the globe these days, it would seem that congress and the public would have a better agenda on hand than to stop people from serving in the military, or getting married.
Several major countries are heading for civil war and or worse. When the entire region becomes screwed up and there is not a drop of oil going out of those countries...what are we going to do? What, sit in line at the gas station cussing the world for using gas guzzlers because they could afford it at the time? Watching the economy really tank because fuel prices soar to $11 per gallon and no one can afford gas even in a prius?
I think we have to really take a serious look at ourselves and see if this is what we really want to be 10, 20 years down the road... or worse 20 months down the road.
(Drive by your local chevy dealership and see if you can find a car with good mpg!). Try to see over the huge trucks with its 12mpg stickers..
Just too many things to worry about –
here are a few:
Children getting healthy meals
Elderly choosing between a meal and medication because they have to pay $96 per month for medicare, then additional for the pharmacy insurance part D, then another co pay at the cashier. While the CEO of the pharmaceutical is making $164million per year.
What is wrong with these pictures!
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Just this morning I saw two people knocking on my next-door neighbors house as I was leaving.
I went over to find they were from the church sharing 'gods word' etc.
I didn't realize that God needed advertisement. I thought he knew everyone.
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what if Marriage was ruled a "Religious Ceremony" and all "Marriages" were defind by law as "Civil Unions" and vis versa. Then Marriages would retain their religious sanctity and the government by way of the First Ammendment "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;", would have to stay out of "Marriages". Old and new "religions" would be allowed to perform marriages in keeping with their individual doctrin.
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I keep hearing on the TV/news/Internet that they don't want to change marriage and that it has been a man woman for centuries.
It has changed already, once it was for the purpose of gaining the woman's land and slaves.
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