Thursday, February 24, 2011

Obama Administration Bails Out on Marriage (And the U.S. Constitution)

Barack Obama truly believes that he and his administration are above the law.

A federal judge declares ObamaCare unconstitutional and therefore null and void. Barack Obama ignores the decision. A federal judge declares the administration's ban on offshore drilling illegal. Barack Obama ignores the decision. Congress passes the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996 and the administration has the clear duty to defend U.S. law in court actions against it. But Barack Obama doesn't like that law and so he orders the Justice Department to stop defending it.

My goodness; even Michelle Obama ignores the prohibition against politicking outside polling booths.

Who do these people think they are -- Kennedys?

Here are excerpts from various responses to this latest shameful action on the part of our President:

* Chuck Donovan, senior research fellow in the DeVos Center on Religion and Civil Society at the Heritage Foundation, "Obama Bows Out on the Defense of Marriage Act," The Corner at National Review)

Advocates for DOMA and the natural definition of marriage have pointed out from the beginning how flawed Justice’s work on these cases has been. Richard Epstein, who favors same-sex marriage on policy grounds, called it “almost like collusive litigation.”

DOMA’s defenders agree that the strongest argument for its rationality rests on the central purpose of marriage: the effective uniting of a man and a woman and the children they beget into the core unit of society, the family. In his letter, Holder dismisses this concern by noting that Justice “disavowed” any claim regarding “procreational responsibility” in the lower court.

In other words, this trifling matter of fostering bonds between parents for the sake of the next generation was tossed overboard back in port. No need to swim back for it.

Holder then rakes over the coals the “moral disapproval” that was expressed in the “debates and discussions” over DOMA regarding “intimate” same-sex relationships. This is enough, the attorney general asserts, to doom DOMA as unconstitutional because, he says, it represents “stereotype-based thinking.”

A fairer statement would be that it is impossible for most observers of these issues to take a stand that does not reflect, at least in part, a moral judgment. Writers and activists on both sides of the issue routinely make morality-based arguments: about the wellbeing of children, the cost to society of family decline, varying notions of equality, and so forth. Any Justice Department lawyer or court bent on weeding out every type of moral judgment from the law will have to bring a backhoe to the task.

* "President Abandons Marriage," a Washington Times editorial:

DOMA was passed by elected representatives of the people and signed into law by President Clinton; the public has the right for their laws to be defended by the executive branch. This administration refuses. “The Obama administration has been sabotaging DOMA litigation from the outset,” according to Ed Whelan of the Ethics and Public Policy Center. “Today’s action at least has the modest virtue of bringing that sabotage out into the open.”

Shannen Coffin, former deputy assistant attorney general for the Civil Division, told The Washington Times that administrations frequently defend laws they disagree with, and that it’s a “cardinal principle” that a president “has an obligation” to do so unless no reasonable argument can be made in favor of the law’s constitutionality. Eleven circuit courts already have ruled that Mr. Obama is wrong. The White House’s decision on DOMA, Mr. Coffin said, is “politics dressed up as constitutional law.”

Mr. Coffin cautions that a president has the duty to exercise independent judgment in rare instances in which he believes a law is “obviously” unconstitutional. As subjective as such a judgment might be, defending traditional marriage doesn’t fall in that category under any circumstances. The unambiguous revelation this week is how radically removed Mr. Obama is from American public opinion, U.S. constitutional tradition and the mainstream of human history.

The Republican-led House of Representatives has an opportunity - and an obligation -to provide legal defense for this law Mr. Obama has abandoned. In a country based on the rule of law, government can’t be allowed to ignore the law.

* Michael Foust from Baptist Press interviewed Austin R. Nimocks, senior legal counsel with the Alliance Defense Fund to explain the importance of the Justice Department's decision.

BAPTIST PRESS: Why is this significant?

NIMOCKS: It is significant because the American people have a right to expect their laws to be defended by the government officials, and the Department of Justice has been failing to give a full defense of the Defense of Marriage Act for some time, but now has made their no-defense position official and in writing. This is really disappointing with the Department of Justice choosing to appease a small but vocal and wealthy constituency and abandon its duty to the American people.

BAPTIST PRESS: When you say they haven't been defending it, what do you mean?

NIMOCKS: Throughout the litigation over the federal Defense of Marriage Act, the Department of Justice has expressly disavowed Congress' reasons for enacting the federal Defense of Marriage Act and instead put forth its own basis for defense, guaranteeing that the case would end the way they wanted it to end -- which is not in favor of [traditional] marriage...

BAPTIST PRESS: The Justice Department, in a statement about the decision, said "sexual orientation should be subject to a more heightened standard of scrutiny." Can you explain what they're talking about?

NIMOCKS: The suggestion by the attorney general that heightened scrutiny is appropriate is in essence a suggestion that the Department of Justice believes that the concept of sexual orientation should be addressed under the Constitution like one's race or sex, which is an unprecedented position under the United States Constitution.

BAPTIST PRESS: Why should the Defense of Marriage Act be upheld, and why do we need it?

NIMOCKS: Across this country, from coast to coast, north to south, red states and blue states, Americans believe in marriage. It is vital to the very survival and existence of our society, and it is an important part of the laws that unify us as a country.