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You Are Here: Home » Featured, LGBT News Domestic & U.S. Politics » New York Time Editorial: Obama MUST Submit Briefs in Prop 8 Case and DOMA – Be A President DAMMIT!

Last night a scathing editorial in the New York Times argued that President Obama’s MUST follow through on his Inaugural address, in which he put gay rights in line with civil rights (which it is) and must get involved  in the marriage cases before the Supreme Court

By including gay rights in the arc of the struggle for civil rights — the road “through Seneca Falls and Selma and Stonewall” — President Obama linked his presidency to ending antigay discrimination and underscored the legal wrong of denying gay people the freedom to marry.

“Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law,” Mr. Obama famously said in his second Inaugural Address, “for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.”       

Now that Mr. Obama has declared that he believes denying gay people the right to wed is not only unfair and morally wrong but also legally unsupportable, the urgent question is how he will translate his words into action. To start, he should have his solicitor general file a brief in the Proposition 8 case being argued before the Supreme Court in March, saying that California’s voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.       

Just a day after the inauguration, Mr. Obama’s spokesman, Jay Carney, said that while Mr. Obama supports same-sex marriage as a policy matter, the president still believes it is an issue for individual states to decide. (ADDED NOTE:  Carney also said that Obama had no intention of getting involved in the Prop 8 and DOMA cases)  That was Mr. Obama’s formulation when he first announced his support for same-sex marriage in May, and even then it made no sense, except perhaps as political cover approaching the general election campaign.  [snip]  

The outcome of the Proposition 8 case is likely to affect the lives of gay, lesbian and bisexual Americans for years to come, even if the final disposition is not sweeping enough to wipe out all state laws currently banning same-sex marriage. A strong filing by the Justice Department, forthrightly declaring that denying the freedom to marry violates the Constitution, would put the full weight of the federal government on the side of justice and could influence the shape of the ruling.       

For the administration to be missing in action in this showdown risks conveying a message to the justices that it lacks confidence in the constitutional claims for ending gay people’s exclusion from marriage or that it believes Americans are not ready for a high court ruling making marriage equality the law of the land — impressions strikingly contradicted by legal precedent, the lessons of history and by the president’s own very powerful words.       

Mr. Obama’s Inaugural Address appeared to reflect a deepened understanding that the right to marry the person of one’s choice is a fundamental right “under the law.” He needs to make sure his solicitor general conveys that sound legal view loud and clear in the Proposition 8 case.

We must push into President Obama doing the right thing.  With all the “pretty words” must now come some REAL ACTION.  No skirting the issues and no work arounds of DOMA as we have seen in the past.  It is time for Obama to stand up and FORCEFULLY take a stand where it counts.   As we saw in Prop 8, there is no defense against taking away rights already granted. And DOMA is a clear violation of the 14th Amendment.

Its is both insulting and shameful That President Obama, who says he’s supportive of same-sex marriage in a speech, can’t quite summon up enough courage or the balls to completely support it in his actions.

Be a man.  Be a leader.  Be the President of the United States. Stand up for what’s right dammit and file the briefs with SCOTUS and prove once and for all that your “words” have actual meaning.

About the author

Will Kohler has written 6652 articles on this blog.

Will Kohler is a noted LGBT historian, writer, blogger and owner of Back2Stonewall.com. A longtime gay activist, Will fought on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic with ACT-UP and continues fighting today for LGBT acceptance and full equality. Will’s work has been referenced in notable media venues as MSNBC and BBC News, The Washington Post, The Advocate, The Daily Beast, Hollywood Reporter, Raw Story, and The Huffington Post

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