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Obama: Defense of Marriage Act Unconstitutional (Unlike Health Care Reform Law)

posted by Nicole Neroulias

Updated Feb. 24 to add Catholic link.

This just in: President Obama has ordered the Justice Department to stop defending the Defense of Marriage Act, the 1996 law that bars federal recognition of same-sex marriage, against lawsuits challenging it as unconstitutional.

Check out the Justice Department’s statement from Attorney General Eric Holder here, and the story just posted on The New York Times website. As expected, the U.S. Catholic bishops have decried this turn of events.

Meanwhile, on the subject of unconstitutional vs. constitutional laws, a federal judge has tossed out the lawsuit filed by the American Center for Law and Justice, a conservative legal group that claimed the new health care reform law’s requirement that all Americans have health insurance violates the religious freedom of those who rely on God to protect them.

I’ll post more faith-related links later today – I’m sure the Religion Clause blog will have more details on the legal language shortly — but feel free to share them in the Comments section in the meantime, along with your thoughts.

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Heretic_for_Christ

posted February 23, 2011 at 3:11 pm


Well, good…and about time, too. Up to now, the president has done precious little that would indicate that he was once a professor of constitutional law.



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Robert C

posted February 23, 2011 at 3:41 pm


Interesting. In the past he has ignored the issue and personally stated he was against gay marriage. He has always steadfastly refused to march in gay pride parades.
BTW he was never a “professor of constitutional law”. As Hillary Clinton’s campaign spokesperson Phil Singer once explained “Sen. Obama has often referred to himself as “a constitutional law professor” out on the campaign trail. He never held any such title. And I think anyone, if you ask anyone in academia the distinction between a professor who has tenure and an instructor that does not, you’ll find that there is … you’ll get quite an emotional response.”



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Nicole Neroulias

posted February 23, 2011 at 3:58 pm


President Obama wasn’t tenured, but he was an University of Chicago law school senior lecturer for years, where students and colleagues referred to him as professor. (Perhaps a relevant comparison here would be how some ministers go through many years of seminary, while others have more of a symbolic title.)
In any case, I’m sure Heretic_for-Christ’s point is that he’s someone who is more than a casual thinker on the topic of constitutionality — a constitutional law scholar/expert, if you will, if not a “professor” by some standards. It’s an interesting point. But, let’s stay on topic: What does all this mean for people of faith?



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NC Infidel

posted February 23, 2011 at 4:41 pm


DOMA bleeding and DADT dead – what are these leftie liberals thinking with their newfangled equality before the law stuff?



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Jester

posted February 23, 2011 at 5:55 pm


I’d say it/he means bad things for people of faith in the long run. Most Marxists throughout history haven’t had a good track record in their regard for religion. Thank goodness Obama’s still in the closet for now…



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Mordred08

posted February 23, 2011 at 7:00 pm


It’s nice to see a politician not letting his religious beliefs get in the way of doing what’s right for everybody.
For people of faith…well, the ones that are gay themselves will appreciate it, I’m sure. I wouldn’t worry too much about the rest. Eventually, when they see the world hasn’t ended over this issue, they’ll find something else to wail and gnash their teeth over.



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pagansister

posted February 23, 2011 at 10:05 pm


Excellent that President Obama realized that the world will not come to an end because 2 consenting adults of the same gender marry. To me it is a civil rights issue—has nothing to do with religion—as much as the “religious” folk would like to own it. No one HAS to marry in a church/temple/synagogue or any other religious environment—and if they do they still have to have a marriage license, a non-religious document.



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Grumpy Old Person

posted February 23, 2011 at 11:20 pm


“I’d say it/he means bad things for people of faith in the long run.”
You’re more than welcome to “say” it, Jester, but it would help us if you were to tell us why you think it.
After that, you could tell us why you think a link to Tibet and “most Marxists” and “religion” has a thing to do with an UN-Constitutional anti-equality US law.



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Grumpy Old Person

posted February 23, 2011 at 11:23 pm


Can any one tell me why a law can exempt itself from the Constitution in the first place?



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Nicole Neroulias

posted February 24, 2011 at 11:51 am


I’ve updated the post with a link to the Catholic bishops’ response — any others that you recommend?
For what it’s worth, regardless of where the government stands on same-sex marriage, denominations can still discriminate freely on who may wed in a religious ceremony.
Next time I blog about this, I’ll find or compile an updated list of which denominations now allow gay marriage, but it’s obviously more today than a generation ago. (Perhaps I can combine that with a list of prominent Republican political offspring who support it, including folks with the last names of McCain, Cheney and Bush.)



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Robert C

posted February 24, 2011 at 12:14 pm


There is a distinct difference. If there wasn’t then no one in academia would care about the tenure process and the goal of becoming a professor, nor would you care if someone referred to your position as an Adjunct Professor Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism as a lecturer, or as somewhat ‘temporary’. The point is that his disingenuousness about gay rights mirrors the same trait within his personal narrative. His press secretary re-iterated that unlike those Republican “offspring”, Obama hasn’t altered his personal position on the topic, which remains against gay marriage and is still “grappling” with the issue. This change is a legal one advised by the DOJ. The DOJ remains fully committed to enforcing the law, as long as it exists. Here is a rather expellant explanation of the legal ramifications of this position change as outlined by a full professor of Law, who happens to be gay and rather leftist.
http://www.365gay.com/opinion/culhane-legal-analysis-of-obama-administration-decision-to-stop-defending-doma/
Check out the rest of his articles on the topic.



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Robert C

posted February 24, 2011 at 12:16 pm


make that ‘excellent’ :)



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Grumpy Old Person

posted February 24, 2011 at 12:38 pm


Robert,
From the link you gave me, one comboxer asks:
“How any law that can EXEMPT ITSELF from certain provisions [i.e EITHER the FF&CC OR the Equal Protections Clause] of the Constitution could EVER be consider ‘Constitutional’ in the first place?”
Any lawyers out there that can ’splain me this???”
I’ve been asking that question here for years and no one has been able to explain it to me. Can you?
Professor Culhane chooses not to address this part either.
And, pointing out that: “Obama hasn’t altered his personal position on the topic, which remains against gay marriage and is still “grappling” with the issue.” actually speaks in Obama’s favor. He may be “personally against” it (and, he IS still “struggling”/”grappling” with the issue), but he’s still trying to be the President of ALL citizens by refusing to challenge what is clearly an UN-Constitutional law.



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Grumpy Old Person

posted February 24, 2011 at 12:42 pm


Nicole,
You can add to your politicians list House Majority Leader Dick Gephardt and his daughter. (Check out the documentary “For the Bible Tells Me So”.)
You can also add to your many resources links list http://www.365gay.com – that Robert C. referenced – it’s pretty comprehensive on this (and many) gay issues.



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Grumpy Old Person

posted February 24, 2011 at 12:53 pm


From the Catholic Bishops link:
“Marriage has been understood for millennia and across cultures as the union of one man and one woman.”
And they are actually serious about this dis-’information’/lie.
Also,
” It is also a grave affront to the millions of Americans who reject unjust discrimination”
Odd, but it’s the USCCB that embraces unjust discrimination. Promotes it, in fact.
Vile, hateful liars. And they call themselves “Christians”. UGHH!



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Grumpy Old Person

posted February 24, 2011 at 1:02 pm


You know it’s past time to get rid of this unjust, UN-Constitutional law when its author says it is:
No defending the Defense of Marriage Act
by Bob Barr
“In 1996, as a freshman member of the House of Representatives, I wrote the Defense of Marriage Act, better known by its shorthand acronym, DOMA, than its legal title. The law has been a flash-point for those arguing for or against same-sex marriage ever since President Clinton signed it into law. Even President-elect Barack Obama has grappled with its language, meaning and impact.
I can sympathize with the incoming commander in chief. And, after long and careful consideration, I have come to agree with him that the law should be repealed.”
More at the link:
http://www.bobbarr.org/default.asp?pt=newsdescr&RI=1134



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Jester

posted February 24, 2011 at 7:09 pm


All I can do is point out the current and historical pieces of the problem, Grumpy. I can’t help you if you’re unable to put them together.



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Grumpy Old Person

posted February 24, 2011 at 10:45 pm


Jester,
Feel free to ignore my question, but what I actually asked was:
“I’d say it/he means bad things for people of faith in the long run.”
You’re more than welcome to “say” it, Jester, but it would help us if you were to tell us why you think it.
After that, you could tell us why you think a link to Tibet and “most Marxists” and “religion” has a thing to do with an UN-Constitutional anti-equality US law.
All you did was post disparate and irrelevant crap – AGAIN.
I can’t help you if you refuse to be logical.



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Mordred08

posted February 24, 2011 at 11:24 pm


Silly Jester. Obama isn’t a Marxist. He’s an Islamic terrorist who was secretly born in Kenya. I saw a picture of him wearing a turban once, so it must be true.



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Grumpy Old Person

posted February 25, 2011 at 9:08 pm


I just saw the official spokespersons for the ‘right’ who speak ‘for’ marriage: Glenn Beck, who’s had 2, and Newt Gingrich, who’s had 3. Terrific record you guys have their to, er, ‘defend’.
You are hereby officially being laughed at.



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Jester

posted February 26, 2011 at 12:47 pm


Ok, Grumpy. I wasn’t ignoring your questions; I was assuming you could figure it out for yourself given enough time. But since you’re having trouble thinking, and you’ve begged repeatedly, I’ll take you by the hand and spell it out slowly and clearly just for you. Let’s start at the beginning:
You didn’t notice that Nicole, in her post above my first one, asked: “But, let’s stay on topic: What does all this mean for people of faith?”
I responded in kind with the fact that Marxists throughout history have had a bad track record in their regards for religion, as my link about what Mao’s army did to Tibetan Buddhists shows (one of many). Now, even though you don’t think Obama’s a Marxist, he does have strong ties to socio-communism (which a link in my second post shows – another one of many). So, building upon that fact, I mentioned how his policies and beliefs could possibly be detrimental to people of Faith given the history of the “Religion is poison” mindset. Understand? No? That’s too bad, but ok. I have no obligation to change your mind. In other words, I can only bring your brain to water; I can’t make it drink.
And I don’t speak for Glenn Beck or Newt Gingrich, either. Sorry, but I’m not gonna bite that hook. Nice try, though.
Hey Mordred: Where’s the pic of Obama in a turban? I’ve gotta see that one. I did find a pic of Osama Bin Laden’s cat for you which might lighten things up…



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Nicole Neroulias

posted February 26, 2011 at 4:44 pm


The topic here is not about President Obama’s politics/religion (real or imaginary), but rather what the constitutionality debates over DOMA and health care reform mean for people of faith.



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Mordred08

posted February 26, 2011 at 5:17 pm


Jester, I really don’t know how you managed to miss that picture. Right-wingers were putting it up all over the Internet a year or so ago like it proved something. But that’s all I’m going to say on the subject, because I don’t want to get in trouble.
Instead, I’ll clarify what I said earlier. The only people of faith who’ll be affected by this change are the ones who themselves are gay, but have been prevented from fully acting on their personal beliefs not by their congregations, but by the government (if that’s not a violation of the first amendment, nothing is). There are those who will pretend to be harmed by the repeal of this stupid “law”, but that’s their victim complex. They need to feel like they’re suffering for their faith. Otherwise, it feels like they’re doing something wrong.



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Jester

posted February 26, 2011 at 6:58 pm


So, Nicole, this thread isn’t actually about Obama’s socio-political-religious beliefs and how they affect his decision-making? Hmm. My mistake. Could you help me clarify my thoughts by going back through your article and omitting the name “Obama” from its title and text? Thanks.



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not as good as YOU apparently

posted February 27, 2011 at 2:01 pm


There’s an interesting book called “A Jest of God”. Paul Newman turned it into a fascinating movie starring his wife Joanne Woodward, called “Rachel, Rachel”.
That’s about as relevant to this thread (titled: ”
Obama: Defense of Marriage Act Unconstitutional (Unlike Health Care Reform Law)”) as stuff about Marxism, socio-Communism, Maos army and Tibetan Buddhism. It’s sad when people can’t figure out the topic from the title.
The more I read how the DOMA contravenes the Constitution, the more I want to puke on Bill Clinton for signing the d@m thing. Mr. Clinton has been, er, ‘surprisingly’ silent on the topic. Odd, that.



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not as good as YOU apparently

posted February 27, 2011 at 2:34 pm

Jester

posted March 1, 2011 at 5:05 pm


This Just In: Apparently a coalition of 34,000 black churches doesn’t think Obama’s socio-political-religious beliefs are good for America either. Do my views count now?



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Nicole Neroulias

posted March 1, 2011 at 5:55 pm


Thanks for sharing the link, Jester. Given that the story is about black churches reacting specifically to the DOMA news — as opposed to vague generalizations about Obama’s socio-political-religious beliefs — it IS relevant to this post.



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Jester

posted March 1, 2011 at 7:34 pm


You’re welcome. I’m glad that at least somebody has proven my point for me, even though no one is neutral enough to directly admit it.



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Grumpy Old Person

posted March 7, 2011 at 3:49 pm


Jester,
Your latest link was about DOMA – of course it’s relevant. (Marxism, socio-Communism, Mao’s army and Tibetan Buddhism shure as heck weren’t.)
Still, no “point” of yours has been “proven”.
All you’ve done is post a link to an article that the leader of a coalition of balck churches disagrees with one of the President’s policies. It is no surprise, considering how blacks in California shat on their Constitution and voted en masse against other people’s rights. Which is wierd considering black people wouldn’t like to have their rights voted on. (Just ask Mildred Loving.)
Nor does your link explain HOW “it/he means bad things for people of faith in the long run”.
Feel free to answer that any time.



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Grumpy Old Person

posted March 7, 2011 at 3:51 pm


Plus, since the Government may not ‘establish’ any religion, what “black churches” have to say about other people’s rights still IS irrelevant. I’m not a member of their church. Why should I be forced to abide by their tenets?



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