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John Berry Explains It All: Gay Rights Coming, And No ‘Deal’ Between White House and HRC

johnberry93

As the director of the Office of Personnel Management, John Berry oversees some 1.9 million federal employees. He’s also the highest ranking open homo. Which means plenty of pressure falls on this fella — both from the gay community (as someone looking out for them in the upper echelons of government) and the White House (as someone they can use as a pawn in relations with the gays). But as he tells it, there’s no smoke-filled back room strategy sessions going on between leaders of Gay Inc. and the White House to broker gay rights deals. And all those promises Obama made us? He’ll keep ‘em! Eventually.

Berry — with the okay from the White House — denies Obama and the Human Rights Campaign cut a deal to pass hate crimes legislation and workplace anti-discrimination measures while holding off on repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Does that get Joe Solmonese off the hook?

He also laid out, in what’s perhaps the most clear explanation yet, the White House’s basic strategy on gay rights. It goes like this, according to words exchanged between Berry and The Advocate:

Our first hope is that we will get our federal house in order and ensure that no discrimination exists in the federal work place against any of the LGBT community. [Note: This presumably pertains to the fact that transgender workers are still not protected by the federal government’s nondiscrimination policy, though gay employees are covered.]

Second, we want to make sure that we get the benefits for the LGBT community that are equal to all other benefits provided to other federal employees, and where we have the authority to move forward, the president is going to be announcing something in the very near future that is going to be a very significant announcement in that regard. Where it requires legislation, we will seek and support it.

We have four broad legislative goals that we want to accomplish and legislation is one of these things where you’ve got to move when the opportunity strikes, so I’m going to list them in an order but it’s not necessarily going to go one, two, three, four. Obviously, I think the first opportunity is hate crimes and we’re hopeful that we can get that passed this week. We’re going to try, but if not, we’re going to keep at it until we get it passed. The second one ENDA, we want to secure that passage of ENDA, and third is we want to repeal legislatively “don’t ask don’t tell,” and fourth, we want to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act.

Now, I’m not going to pledge — and nor is the president — that this is going to be done by some certain date. The pledge and the promise is that, this will be done before the sun sets on this administration – our goal is to have this entire agenda accomplished and enacted into law so that it is secure.

From Berry’s words, it sounds like the White House plans on making good on its promises to GLBTs, going from what it judges the most doable all the way down to the most difficult. And while Berry doesn’t want to put that in a chronological list, we will: Hate crimes protection, then employee protection, then DADT, then DOMA. Which is all well and good — actually, it’s beyond terrific if Obama truly plans on making these steps — but communicating this strategy to us has been a long time coming.

As for last week’s horrendous defense of DOMA from the Department of Justice, Berry sadly joins the apologist club:

This president took a solemn oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States and he does not get to decide and choose which laws he enforces. He has to enforce the laws that have been enacted appropriately and that he has inherited. It would be wrong for me or any of our community to advise him to lie or to shirk his responsibility. He’s doing his job. He has made clear that he stands for the repeal of DOMA. It will be part of this administration’s agenda to accomplish that act. We ought not waste energy and angst attacking him when we should be focusing the energy and effort on getting 218 votes in the house and 60 votes in the Senate, and that’s where we ought to target the energy and the strength of this community and this president is with us, this is our agenda and it’s his agenda.

Apparently condemning the community, pulling the incest card, and going overboard to demean gay Americans is part of the president “just doing his job.” Replace “people of color” or “women” or “the physically disabled” with the DOJ’s remarks about why gays shouldn’t be allowed to get married and the pictures grows more clear: Obama isn’t doing his job; he is actively endorsing discrimination.

His duty to uphold the Constitution, meanwhile, includes a little phrase that reads “equal protection under the law.” He’s not only failing in that department, he’s actively lobbying for why he shouldn’t have to do it.

So when Berry says Obama doesn’t get to pick and choose which laws he upholds, he’s wrong: Obama gets to pick the Constitutional laws to uphold, and disregard everything else that violates civil rights.

By:           editor editor
On:           Jun 15, 2009
Tagged: , , , , , , , ,

  • 56 Comments
    • Luke
      Luke

      we dont want words….we want goddamn ACTION

      Jun 15, 2009 at 3:19 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Michael @ LeonardMatlovich.com
      Michael @ LeonardMatlovich.com

      He’s not even one of Obama’s lawyer shills. He’s a shill who used to run a ZOO! A Porch Faggot, a Queer Quisling, distorting and denying the facts to defend Massa Barack.

      It’s Berry AND Barry pickin’ time!

      Jun 15, 2009 at 3:23 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Michael @ LeonardMatlovich.com
      Michael @ LeonardMatlovich.com

      FROM JOHN ARAVOSIS OF AMERICABLOG, WHO, NOTE, WAS A FIERCE ADVOCATE FOR OBAMA’S GETTING THE NOMINATION:

      “I’m simply astounded that they let [Berry] speak publicly, and that he let himself be used like this.

      1. Berry suggests that Obama may wait until his second term to do anything on gay rights.

      BERRY: Now, I’m not going to pledge — and nor is the president — that this is going to be done by some certain date. The pledge and the promise is that, this will be done before the sun sets on this administration – our goal is to have this entire agenda accomplished and enacted into law so that it is secure.

      THE ADVOCATE: Does that include a second term? A lot of people have talked about DOMA being pushed back until a second term.

      BERRY: I say this in a broad sense — our goal is to get this done on this administration’s watch.

      2. The president does not have the option to oppose existing law, at all, no exceptions, zero, nothing — Berry claims.

      That’s a flat out lie, as we showed earlier with the essay by former Clinton White House special assistant Richard Socarides.

      (We also listed four cases where Reagan, Bush Sr, Clinton and Bush Jr. all refused to defend existing statutes.)

      BERRY: This president took a solemn oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States and he does not get to decide and choose which laws he enforces. He has to enforce the laws that have been enacted appropriately and that he has inherited. It would be wrong for me or any of our community to advise him to lie or to shirk his responsibility. He’s doing his job.
      That’s a flat out lie. The president can ask DOJ to oppose laws in cases where there are important political and social issues at stake. Period. We’ve proven that they’re lying about this, it’s no longer debatable.

      Oh, and where in the Constitution does it say that the president is required to compare our marriages to incest and pedophilia? We still haven’t heard an explanation for that one. Nor have we heard an apology.

      3. Did you catch how Berry said, above, that if we asked the president to file a brief opposing DOMA, we’d be asking him to “lie”? (First off, Berry admits that Obama owns the brief – so no more of this, “it was the lawyers” – it’s Obama.) Anyway, so asking Obama to oppose DOMA in the brief would be asking him to “lie.” What the hell is that supposed to mean? You mean the president was telling the truth when his brief claimed that gay marriage is like incest? He actually believes that? When the president claimed that Loving v. Virginia has nothing to do with our battle for marriage equality, he was saying he really believes that somehow the civil rights battle of African-Americans is different, better, than ours? Obama really believes that it’s unfair to ask straight taxpayers to pay for our spousal benefits when we already pay for theirs? Obama thinks DOMA doesn’t discriminate against gays? That it doesn’t deny us benefits? That it’s good for America in these tight budget times?

      We’re now to believe that Obama actually agrees with the bigoted crap that the White House let the DOJ put in that hateful brief? WTF?

      4. We shouldn’t be bothering Obama with our pesky complaints, we should be busy rallying votes for overturning DOMA on the Hill:
      He has made clear that he stands for the repeal of DOMA. It will be part of this administration’s agenda to accomplish that act. We ought not waste energy and angst attacking him when we should be focusing the energy and effort on getting 218 votes in the house and 60 votes in the Senate, and that’s where we ought to target the energy and the strength of this community and this president is with us, this is our agenda and it’s his agenda.
      Yes, we should be lobbying Congress over DOMA. But what about YOU? What do you plan to do about DOMA? All we’ve heard is that the president still supports repeal, but we haven’t heard one thing about him lifting a finger to help? Writing a brief detailing why DOMA is good for the country does not help us convince Congress to repeal it.

      5. And best of all, the White House, Berry tells us, thinks we currently have no chance of getting ENDA, DADT or DOMA. Whoopee!
      The Advocate: And what about “don’t ask, don’t tell,” is that being pushed back?

      Berry: We don’t have the votes to do Hate Crimes right now, we don’t have the votes to do ENDA, how are we going [to get “don’t ask, don’t tell]?

      Yes, how are we going to get Don’t ask Don’t Tell? Clearly the White House doesn’t think we stand a chance.

      Anybody still think these people are committed to doing something, anything, to help us secure our civil rights?”

      Jun 15, 2009 at 3:33 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • SM
      SM

      You all act like everything would pass with flying colors in the House and Senate now towards gay rights. Clinton tried and he FAILED…the gay community sure does seem to FAIL a lot so MAYBE YOU SHOULD TRY ANOTHER APPROACH.

      Jun 15, 2009 at 3:37 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • michael
      michael

      @SM: The gay community has failed a lot because up to the last few years it has been passionless, complacent and left everything up to the likes of the HRC to do things we should have been doing ourselves. But finally its different now. WE ARE OUTRAGED! We are awakening to the reality that nobody is going to hand us anything we are going to have to become a force to be reckoned with and we finally are.

      “Freedom is NEVER voluntarily given by the oppressor, it must be demanded by the oppressed”.

      Politicians play games, we don’t have to play games, we have to show them we mean fucking business.

      Jun 15, 2009 at 3:52 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • michael
      michael

      And we are fools if we wait for Obama to act on our behalf in his second term. Because there may not be a second term, just ask Jimmy Carter how those second terms don’t automatically manifest themselves for Democrats.

      Jun 15, 2009 at 3:55 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • SM
      SM

      @michael:

      I fought and campaigned hard for No On Prop 8 in Orange County where it counted. Where we were outnumbered by Yes People. The gay community never gave a flip. Obama was at Saddleback Church 2 months before the election…did the gay community show up? NOPE.

      You are forget that MILLIONS OF STRAIGHT DEMOCRATIC VOTERS have invested TIME and MONEY in your cause and you still need them.

      Good luck not pissing them off with the Obama bashing…I’m sick of it. I campaigned harder for No On Prop 8 than most gays in California and now you have a hissy fit? GROW Up. NO ON PROP 8 PASSED BECAUSE THE GAY COMMUNITY BLEW IT THE FUCK OFF!!!!!!!!!!

      Jun 15, 2009 at 4:11 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • petted
      petted

      I must say that it does seem strange for a president who has been and is a scholar and teacher of constitutional law not to examine, and rather closely I would imagine, any brief addressing the constitutionality of a law – particularly one as insidious as DOMA. That being said someone that has studied the constitution closely and for many years must presumably have a great deal of respect for the document which would indicate that while perhaps for this president the tenants of the constitution are not things to be bent or pushed aside even when he might want to do so for reasons of expediency however that being said the overall callous and clumsy tone of the brief is very unlike the man who has come to serve as our President which begs the question how can someone who has clearly demonstrated a great capacity to gauge nuance performing an oratory ballet if you will, allow himself to be blindsided by that rather insipid brief? Our President has shown great savvy to a great many communities in America – while I don’t mean to suggest that he should be left off the hook I do wonder if our current President is truly savvy and holds are community with kind regard and esteem as a gesture of his intentions in this month of Pride and the anniversary of great events what event, or events, will he host to commemorate our place in fabric of America in the heart of DC or whether he will allow others to define his position without him?

      Jun 15, 2009 at 4:47 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cap'N
      Cap'N

      SM, how ’bout you fuck off??? We’ll do it on our own and don’t want/need your help/pity. Fuck off

      Pawlenty 2012—at least he doesn’t lie

      Jun 15, 2009 at 6:19 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Wayne
      Wayne

      You’ll notice it’s not Obama addressing our concerns. You don’t hear Obama making these pledges.He can’t take the time to actually speak to us. Just his lackey. Promises, Promises. This is just a retread of the same blah blah blah all talk NO ACTION. Pathetic.

      Jun 15, 2009 at 6:34 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • InExile
      InExile

      This President made HIS PROMISES for THIS TERM! If he chooses not to keep his promises this term, he will not deserve a second. The democrats know what Obama promised to the gay community so if he WANTED to push to get his promises moving in Congress, he would have started once elected as promised, he did not.

      This man is good at talking the talk but also needs to walk the walk. Thus far he has not done either.

      We need to get our rights ourselves, we could wait until the end of time waiting for Obama. Obama tries to be all things to all people, which makes him stand for nothing!

      Jun 15, 2009 at 6:41 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • InExile
      InExile

      @Wayne: It never is and never was his own words coming from HIS mouth even during the primary. I really do not understand why any gay people supported this man in the primary! How can you court the religious right and the LGBT community? How?

      Jun 15, 2009 at 6:45 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • timncguy
      timncguy

      So now we know the “secret plan”.

      It is to WAIT until congress acts on our issues before doing anything even though Obama promised to be a fierce advocate and yse the bully pulpit of the presidency to help advance our issues through the congress.

      We now know why the pride proclamation’s “call to action” specifically and intentionally excluded the white house from any of that action.

      There is one bright spot in this I guess. On a different blog, though not reported here, Berry was quoted as saying he thought we might get hate crimes legislation passed THIS WEEK.

      If hate crimes legislation is signed into law, then sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression become legal “suspect classes”. That shoots down portions of the DOMA brief as it used the lack of suspect class status against us.

      Jun 15, 2009 at 7:58 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • timncguy
      timncguy

      Is Joe Solmonese “off the hook”, you ask?

      No way. Not until he comes out and explains the “secret plan” that he was made aware of and was so “orgasmic” in his enthusiasm for.

      Jun 15, 2009 at 8:35 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dray
      Dray

      Let’s take a checkpoint here… the President has been in office for less than five months and we’re willing to alienate the rest of the U.S. by claiming that our legislative agenda is more important than a whole host of other affairs that — quite frankly — jeopardize more than our rights? What an amazing and easy way to ensure that we *never* get what should be ours.

      I’ve seen the pseudo-outrage of my gay friends and I’ve read the pundits, the posters, and the allegedly thoughtful comments of the gay cognoscenti. I think the thing we as a community ought to be focused on is this: if we want mainstream rights, we must act in a thoughtful manner towards the mainstream, think through issues based on mainstream realities and not be willing to throw in the towel when things don’t go our way. Accusing the President of ignoring us based on an imperfect and incomplete comprehension of the political realities of the day is incredibly short-sighted and self-defeating.

      Do I believe the President’s intentions are honorable? Yes. Do I believe the President’s attention is appropriately focused on us? No. How do we change that? THAT is the question. And when we ask that question, WE — yes, you and me — must be willing to invest the time and patience to make change a reality. This is not some HGTV make-over show that will resolve in 22 minutes with a big reveal on the 6pm news… this is marathon that we must all be willing to run. But while we’re running, let’s not forget that we will have more support from this administration than any alternative readily visible on the horizon.

      Jun 15, 2009 at 8:49 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Movement Guy
      Movement Guy

      @Dray:

      I’m with you. Way to much whining and pseudo hysteria for my taste. In particular, the claim that the administration has compared us to incest is irritating. The brief went over a number of cases in which the full faith and credit clause was no enforced because the marriage laws of two states were divergent.

      Jun 15, 2009 at 8:55 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Ted B. (Charging Rhino)
      Ted B. (Charging Rhino)

      The Obamamessiah Admininstration has no intention of addressing DOMA, ENDA, nor DADT this term as it would deprive the Democratic National Committee of the valuable no-accounting-for-results G/L ATM-machine for the 2010 and 2012 campaign seasons. Just as the GOP has promised the anti-abortion folks action for 35-years and hasn’t delivered either. …It’s just not going to happen.

      The White House knows it. The Senate and Congressional leadership know it. And the National HRC, NGLTF-types know it. If Joe Solmonese at HRC did his job, he’d be out of work in a few years…and that’s just counter-intuitive for the Washington DC-types. Is there a “deal”?…probably. Perhaps not explicit, but it’s there on the table all-the-same even if unspoken.

      Jun 15, 2009 at 8:55 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • GJR
      GJR

      @Michael @ LeonardMatlovich.com:

      All such piss-poor excuses. You know, I really do think Obama would like to get these things done, but doesn’t want to expend any political capital to do so.

      Take DADT – I’ve suggested he do a series of town hall meetings. Have gay and straight military personnel come out against it. Show the public the real figures in the millions we have lost. Spell out we have lost key specialists in a time of war.

      Jun 15, 2009 at 9:12 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • fifi
      fifi

      @Dray: perfectly explained. I think we are too quick to judge this guy. I think he will come through for us. I am almost graduating from college and i want him first and foremost to fix the darn economy so that i can get a JOB, DADT AND DOMA are less impotant to me because I will never join the army and I am not in a hurry to get married, but I’m sure as hell in a hurry to get a good paying joy. So. queerty, excuse this gay man who happens to like this president. I would vote for him over and over.

      Jun 15, 2009 at 9:22 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Fitz
      Fitz

      Any goodwill, benefit of the doubt has been spent. I believe only the actions that I see, not the words that I hear.

      Jun 15, 2009 at 9:28 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • timncguy
      timncguy

      @Dray: Iwould agree with you with one exception.

      I fully understand the president didn’t promise to get our issues solved in a specific time frame.

      But, he did promise to be a fierce advocate and use the bully pulpit starting on DAY 1 of his administration. He has done NOTHING in that regard. In fact his call to action in the pride proclamation specifically EXCLUDES the white house from any action.

      In fact prior to the proclamation Obama’s only public statements on gay issues were to make those issues the butt of jokes.

      If he didn’t plan to be a fierce advocate, he shouldn’t have promised to be one. If he did plan to be one, but now finds it impossible to do, he needs to explain WHY.

      He talks about needing to build to votes, but expects us to do that on our own without his advocacy. When it is precisely his advocacy that can generate votes in congress.

      So, when I get an admission and an explanation for the reversal on fierce advocacy and the use of the bully pulpit, then I will consider backing off on attacking. But, not until then.

      Go over to Joe My God and view the video compilation of Obama’s campaign rhetoric. Then tell me why we shouldn’t hold him accountable for his actions as compared to his words.

      http://www.joemygod.blogspot.com/

      Jun 15, 2009 at 9:29 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • mickey
      mickey

      Hey guys this is my first time on this site and i have to give you disappointing news. You guys still can’t beat Hannity at obama bashing. Hannity wins in that war, yet even with Hannity’s mean spirited attacks, this president said he can still have a bear together, So then tell me, do you think obama really gives a danm all this drama? He said it himself, he has been called worse names on the basketball court. But queerty bloggers are good, you are almost as mean spirited as Hannity.

      Jun 15, 2009 at 9:30 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • mickey
      mickey

      I meant beer

      Jun 15, 2009 at 9:32 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • timncguy
      timncguy

      @fifi: Excuse you? For being completely self centered? You better hope the job you find is in a location where you have some NON FEDERAL protections. Otherwise, you can be fired just for being gay.

      Glad to hear you are totally worried about your own job, but have no concern for the jobs of those in the military.

      It’s sad to hear someone so young who has already lost the ideals usually associated with youth.

      Jun 15, 2009 at 9:34 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Fitz
      Fitz

      @fifi: I understand your fear and concern. 30 years ago I was eating top Ramen and worried about rent myself. When you are more secure you will probably look around and notice that you can be fired for being a homo, denied a mortgage for being a homo, denied entrance into a condo association for being a homo. And if you are blessed enough to be partnered, you may notice that you are getting screwed on taxes, and benefits. And if you are the parenting type of homo, you will notice that in many states gay adoption is illegal. You will worry about travel to places like that. What if your kid gets sick and the hospital wont recognize you as the dads? And as you hit my age, you will start thinking about retirement and realize that if you die first- your partner will never collect the money you have been paying into SSI for 30 years. On top of all that, we still have all the crap that you yourself put up with, already… all the subtle and not so subtle threats and discrimination. And none of that can get better until our leaders make it socially reprehensible to be a bigot.

      I really understand your hierarchy of needs. I have been young and broke & worried. But just like your finances, or your health, you have to look beyond the moment and anticipate the future.

      Jun 15, 2009 at 9:48 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jerry Priori
      Jerry Priori

      I don’t understand at all the Obama apologists who want to give him a pass for everything merely because he’s been in office for a half-year. True, his time as President so far has been brief. Yes, he has a lots of other issues to attend. The problem is we aren’t talking about inaction regarding gay issues. It’s not as if he’s ignored us. His administration has gone out of the way to insult and hurt us. If he hasn’t had time in his brief six months to help us, where in the world has he found the time to repeatedly fuck us over?

      Obama is an asshole and a liar. Why is it that so many people can’t see what is so obvious?

      Jun 15, 2009 at 10:01 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • timncguy
      timncguy

      @Movement Guy: The claim of incest is easy to understand if you really look at it.

      The brief has said that many states currently ban incestuous marriages. Those marriages between close relatives. The brief is arguing that this is understood as logical and relevant. And, because this incest ban is beneficial to society, then we should also understand that a similar ban on same-sex marriage is also logical and beneficial to society.

      If you think that the outrage in the community is over the top, I would challenge you to change every reference in the brief from same-sex to inter-racial. Then honestly tell me that you would be calling the outrage from the black community (which would be louder than ours) as hysteria.

      Jun 15, 2009 at 10:22 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • MackMike
      MackMike

      @SM: I have to back up SM on this; I too fought in Orange County, week after week. I met a lot of new people, saw a lot of new faces, but oddly enough, I never recognized anyone I actually knew from our local community. Sure, after we lost, I saw a number of faces that were recognizable, but not until then; and the truth is that the concentration of the gay community has been seen in gay friendly areas like Long Beach, West Hollywood and Silver Lake. I’m trying to remember how many protesters I saw at Saddleback during Obama’s appearance; perhaps, less than 75? A meager turn out indeed.

      Personally, I don’t feel as though we are defeated. As I’ve said before, we are a small community, and the fact that we were able to secure 48% of the vote for our right to marry is encouraging, even if the loss incredibly hurtful. Think about it: 10% of the population moved the hearts and challenged the minds of that many voters, and we didn’t even turn out in force.

      I’m very proud of our community, and I hope that more begin to stand up with real pride and healthy esteem for whom we are and our worthiness to secure a better future for ourselves and those who follow behind us. As our numbers improve, as more of us awake from our circuit party stupors and recognize that we are being told that we are second class citizens, and refuse to accept this, our chances of making real change will no longer be a possibility but a reality.

      Think about what we have done. Imagine what we can do!

      Jun 15, 2009 at 10:36 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Lymis
      Lymis

      Have you folks read the DOJ brief? Even a summary?

      This is not a matter of “He has more important things to do, so we need to wait.”

      This is not a matter of “We are a tiny percentage of the population, so it is unreasonable for us to act as though our issues are the most important ones in the country right now.”

      Even if you believe that the government has an obligation to support the existence of every law on the books – an absurd idea – this goes way beyond that. I’ll grant that law enforcement has an obligation to enforce existing laws, and to do so fairly. But NOTHING prevents elected officials from coming out and saying “this law is awful and should not be on the books. As long as it is, we will enforce it, but I hope somebody gets a clue and repeals it fast.”

      This isn’t a matter of waiting our turn for positive action, whatever our opinion of doing so might be. This is taking offense to a direct, offensive, and negative action on a subject that the President specifically and repeatedly took the opposite stance on – to get our support for the election. There was no requirement for a brief to be filed, and nothing whatsoever requiring that it be so deeply offensive in nature. None.

      Jun 15, 2009 at 11:36 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Alex
      Alex

      For the record, the incest comparison claim is bullshit. Unless I missed a later reference (I searched the brief for anything that might be interpreted as such a comparison). What the brief says (quoting a congressional statement on p16 line 15 and p44 line 4) is that there are other loving relationships that the Federal government does not recognize as marriage, and gives as examples familial relationships.

      This is not to say that I agree with the statement. To say that homosexual love is different than heterosexual love in the same way that heterosexual love is different than familial love (and, presumably, something like agape, though God cannot enter into a contractual obligation) is offensive to me. But to assume that this was talking about a sexual/incestuous relationship is not warranted by the text.

      What was done here was bad enough, we don’t have to lie about it.

      Jun 15, 2009 at 12:25 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • GJR
      GJR

      @timncguy:

      Basically the secret plan is “vote for me again in 2012, then we’ll see..” I have a secret plan too – I won’t be voting for him.

      Jun 15, 2009 at 12:42 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • GJR
      GJR

      @Alex:

      Bullshit, here is the area:

      Holy cow. Obama invoked incest and people marrying children.

      The courts have followed this principle, moreover, in relation to the validity of marriages performed in other States. Both the First and Second Restatements of Conflict of Laws recognize that State courts may refuse to give effect to a marriage, or to certain incidents of a marriage, that contravene the forum State’s policy. See Restatement (First) of Conflict of Laws § 134; Restatement (Second) of Conflict of Laws § 284.5 And the courts have widely held that certain marriages performed elsewhere need not be given effect, because they conflicted with the public policy of the forum. See, e.g., Catalano v. Catalano, 170 A.2d 726, 728-29 (Conn. 1961) (marriage of uncle to niece, “though valid in Italy under its laws, was not valid in Connecticut because it contravened the public policy of th[at] state”); Wilkins v. Zelichowski, 140 A.2d 65, 67-68 (N.J. 1958) (marriage of 16-year-old female held invalid in New Jersey, regardless of validity in Indiana where performed, in light of N.J. policy reflected in statute permitting adult female to secure annulment of her underage marriage); In re Mortenson’s Estate, 316 P.2d 1106 (Ariz. 1957) (marriage of first cousins held invalid in Arizona, though lawfully performed in New Mexico, given Arizona policy reflected in statute declaring such marriages “prohibited and void”).

      Then in the next paragraph, they argue that the incest and child rape cases therefore make DOMA constitutional

      So the comparison to an woman married to her uncle (atalano v. Catalano, 170 A.2d 726, 728-29 (Conn. 1961)) is comparing it to incest. Any marriage law straight or gay says incestual marriages are not allowed. That is a strawman. Plus, by that logic, there should be no straight marriages either because their can be straight incestual marriages

      Jun 15, 2009 at 12:47 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Lymis
      Lymis

      Alex, it is not a lie to say that the brief compared same-sex marriage to incest, because the examples of other kinds of validly contracted marriages that have historically been held invalid even though they were valid where they were contracted were specifically about incest and underage marriage.

      Essentially, the government argued that since states do not have to accept as valid legal marriages they consider to be incest, they shouldn’t have to accept same-sex marriages even when they were legally performed elsewhere.

      You may think it is minor point, you may think that their argument doesn’t hinge on it, or you may think that it isn’t a one-for-one parallel. But it is hardly a lie to say that they pointed it out.

      This is not the same part of the brief you reference.

      Jun 15, 2009 at 12:48 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • GJR
      GJR

      @Lymis:

      That is such bullshit. First, we are just as fucking important as GM, giving speeches to other Muslim countries and having the Steelers come to the White House.

      Second, if you would do some basic reading, you’d see we are as large a voting block as the Jewish voting block. So apparently Obama doesn’t want the approx. 7 million votes he got from GLBT citizens. He must feel pretty confident not to care about that. Now, sure, some self-loathing gays will buy the argument, “Well Pawlenty/Romney will be worse, so I will wait another 30 years for rights..” But you will say many in the gay community will NOT accept this and just not vote for president.

      I am so sick of all of the self-loathing folks who think we are not worth Obama taking 2 hours to give a major speech, have a meeting with congress, having a town hall meeting, meeting with the Pentagon etc. Do I think we are just as important as what Egyptians and the rest of the Muslim world, not US citizens, thinks? Yes I FUCKING DO.

      Jun 15, 2009 at 12:52 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • GJR
      GJR

      @Lymis:

      Sorry, we are pretty much in agreement, I misread your original post. Sorry. But my message is directed at the many who say that we are not worth some tangible action now. Sorry I jumped when I misread your post.

      Jun 15, 2009 at 12:53 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Marty
      Marty

      >>> Hate crimes protection, then employee protection, then DADT, then DOMA.<<<

      Which is exactly the order it should be in! Make straight folks realize we don’t even have the same basic liberties and protections as them on the job and within the law, then they will realize how vital and unfair DADT and DOMA are. Putting marriage first and loudest is still something I think the Republicans put into play to keep our cause held back for a generation.

      Jun 15, 2009 at 12:56 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • GJR
      GJR

      @Marty:

      But there is more than one way to skin a cat. Let’s see, start with defending a brief, if you must, but refrain from using the most vile and insensitive arguments like gay marriage can in any way be equated with cases of incest (see above, it WAS said)

      How about having town halls where gay and straights soldiers say it makes no difference? How about point out to the public the millions lost on training and the valuable specialists lost in a time of war?

      How about Obama giving a major policy speech on GLBT rights and lay out his goals?

      How about pushing congress to start working on the bill in congress? How about encouraging the senate to start drafting an additional bill?

      How about placing a moratorium on DADT firings until congress can take action, even a year or 2 from now, citing we cannot lose specialists dedicated to our country for 20+ years in a time of war?

      How about having high level talks with the Pentagon?

      No, he’s done none of these. DADT will not be solved now. But concrete action MUST be taken NOW so that there can be results in a year or so.

      If he has done nothing by the end of his term, I will note be voting for him in 2012.

      Jun 15, 2009 at 1:05 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Lymis
      Lymis

      Even if you set aside the incest point (which I still feel is valid), the DOJ brief still clearly states that it feels that DOMA is in no way discriminatory, nor that it denies anyone any rights or privileges. It claims that gay people have no right to marry, and that the state has an overriding interest in making sure that legislators are protected in their right to make decisions regarding the rights of gay people (in other words, we have no fundamental rights, just what lawmakers give us.)

      That is so out of line with Obama’s campaign platform that it is staggering.

      If it is not withdrawn, it will eventually be added to the list of moronic legal opinions in history that were grossly out of step with freedom and equality. This is what he wants his legacy to be? I doubt it.

      Whether or not he had anything to do with writing it, he certainly can have something to do with dealing with it now that it is out on the table.

      Jun 15, 2009 at 1:28 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Lymis
      Lymis

      @GJR

      Ouch.

      Jun 15, 2009 at 1:29 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Patrick
      Patrick

      Obviously The UNITING AMERICAN FAMILIES ACT doesn’t make it onto Mr. Berry’s supposed ‘to do’ list.

      Nice to know the White House still supports OPEN DISCRIMINATION in it’s immigration policy! Tax Paying, Law abiding LGBT should have the same Basic right to Sponsor a Foreign born (legally entered) individual, regardless of their orientation!

      Jun 15, 2009 at 1:39 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • MackMike
      MackMike

      @Lymis: I think most, if not all, of those posting here have actually posted on the other thread here, which received responses eclipsing 200. I see a few here who were very measured in their replies made to the other thread, and even those folks were absolutely outraged by the wording in the brief, if not by the mere filing of the brief itself. If I sound hopeful it is because the only other option is to dispense with hope altogether, which would simply leave me defeated. I refuse to be defeated, and I am angry, I have been angry for a very long time, and I am going to do what I’ve been doing, which is channel my anger into action.

      Having said that, I absolutely understand where SM is coming from. I share that disappointment and feel a bit angry about the lack of turn out that we saw here in Orange County, CA, in the months leading up to Prop 8. I can’t say that I’m thrilled with the turn out I’ve seen since Prop 8′s passage, though it is better than it was before. We need support here, but how can we ask for that support, support from other communities, when we can’t seem to rally our own troops who live here. Is it complacency? Indifference? Distraction? Shame? I can’t imagine.

      Of course, if one studies the Prop 8 map, you can see that much of Los Angeles voted for Prop 8′s passage, whereas Irvine reportedly voted it down, which amazed me.

      I just believe that we all need to get out there. Maybe you don’t believe in marriage in general, but this isn’t just about your choice to observe marriage, it is about our equality over all, it is about not being treated as second class citizens. There is a lot of passion here, but I sure do wish I saw more passion in the form of action out here on streets, at rallies, in folks going door to door to speak about the issue. Be enraged at the DOJ brief, be furious with Obama, but direct that anger in a positive way to try to better our situation…doing anything less is throwing in the towel, and that is unacceptable.

      Jun 15, 2009 at 1:42 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • timncguy
      timncguy

      @Alex: The brief cites cases of states banning marriage between close family members such as brother / sister or first cousins. Those types of relationships are considered incest.

      The brief says since the state can ban these “incest” types of marriages, they ought to be able to ban same-sex marriages as well.

      That’s a straight-forward comparison in my book. They are saying because A is a good and reasonable thing, then so is B.

      Jun 15, 2009 at 1:44 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • edgyguy1426
      edgyguy1426

      @fifi: Ok we get it YOU need a job, YOU’re not getting married and YOU’re not joining the military! Why don’t you let it not all be about YOU for a change now that you’re going into adulthood and realise that there are people in the military who are losing THEIR jobs at the rate of 1-2 per day because they’re gay, there are people discriminated against because of THEIR LGBT status and couples unable to collect benefits because THEY’RE denied their right to marry. I am pleased YOU bothered to cast a vote because of what this president can do for YOU, but please think of what he could/promised to do for your COMMUNITY.

      Jun 15, 2009 at 1:46 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • edgyguy1426
      edgyguy1426

      @GJR: I think town meetings are a great idea, but not for DADT. The general public is with us on this issue, it’s the Chiefs of Staff he has to persuade. Town meetings on issues the public is not with us yet would make more sense. Great idea, though.

      Jun 15, 2009 at 1:49 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • edgyguy1426
      edgyguy1426

      What’s lacking here is communication i.e. White House –> Gay Community. For someone whose communication skills are compared to Reagan’s, Obama could avoid all this acrimony on the part of our community if he would just tell us WTF is going on and what steps he plans on taking in the future. Unless, of course, he plans to pull a big GOTCHA! and do something soon for us, but I’ll still feel a little angry for being left in the dark.

      Jun 15, 2009 at 2:09 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • charlie
      charlie

      I have just noticsd that nobody gives a crop about us no matter how much noise we make because sometimes we make noise where none should be and we kind of get lost in ourself. it’s always a new thing obama didn’t do every week. Homophobia has been alive before obama the messiah took office 6 months ago. do you know why people call him the messiah? because we expect him to move mountains within a short time. we want him to give inspirational speeches on gay rights just like the one he gave about race or women’s rights. but i ask what if he comes through for us eventually and keeps his promise will we find something else to make noise about or will queerty blog be distinct. because only obama news get hits. The fact that my racist , homophobic parents hate him just because he is black gives me all the reason to give him a chance just like I gave Clinton. 6 months? i’ll judge him after at least half a year.

      Jun 15, 2009 at 2:56 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Rob
      Rob

      @Dray: Here are some political realities for you. 69% of the population, including a majority of conservatives and a majority of Republicans, think openly gay people should be allowed to serve in the military (Gallup 2009). 89% of the population thinks gays should have equal rights “in terms of job opportunities” (Gallup 2007). We have a Democratic President and an overwhelming Democratic majority in the House. In the Senate, we have 57 Democrats plus two gay-friendly independents and at least two gay-friendly Republicans (Snowe and Collins). It just shouldn’t be that hard to get DADT repealed and ENDA passed.

      I know that Congress and the President have a lot more on their plate, but they always have a lot on their plate. When Truman integrated the military, he had a lot more on his plate than Obama does now (the start of the Cold War, for instance, and polls showing he was likely to lose the election). Why aren’t Congress and the President doing anything? Could it be because they don’t give a @#$% about us?

      It’s time for the abusive relationship between Democrats and LGBT people to end. If the Democrats don’t keep their promises, this time, we’re not coming back. They need to pass ENDA and repeal DADT during the 111th Congress. Here’s my promise to the Democratic Party: I pledge not to vote for another Democratic candidate for national office until ENDA is on the books and DADT is repealed. I urge other gay people to make the same pledge.

      For more on Truman: http://www.philly.com/inquirer/currents/20090614_The_American_Debate__Obama_needs_just_a_bit_of_Truman_s_courage.html

      Jun 15, 2009 at 3:24 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • GJR
      GJR

      @charlie:

      More of the same old bullshit. This argument has been made 10,000 times. We are just a wee folk, why worry about us, oppression has gone on forever blah blah blah. Guess, what 1) first, we do deserve and are worthy of some initial actions to get this going, even a strong policy speech would do a lot 2) Any history of oppression has a series of bold steps to change things. Lincoln emancipated the slaves. Truman desegregated the military. A majority of white men decided that women should vote. The day before, they couldn’t, the day after, they could. You way is, gee, wee have oppression, we should just roll with it. Sorry, for every major civil rights movement everywhere, there were also some bold dramatic steps that helped to push along that slow, slow crawl to civil rights.

      Jun 15, 2009 at 3:25 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Alex
      Alex

      @GJR: I stand corrected. I had missed those parts.

      Jun 15, 2009 at 4:41 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian Miller
      Brian Miller

      @Lymis: If it is not withdrawn, it will eventually be added to the list of moronic legal opinions in history that were grossly out of step with freedom and equality. This is what he wants his legacy to be?

      Obama doesn’t care about the future.

      He already wrote in his book that his steadfast opposition to equality under the law for LGBT Americans “may be against the tide of history” and that he accepts that.

      And anybody who is willing to run a $2.5 trillion deficit in a single year, funded by China, making America more of a vassal state in debt dependence to China, doesn’t much think about the future either.

      And to be fair, most of Obama’s loudest supporters, both in the LGBT community and broader community, were warned about all of this well in advance by Greens and Libertarians and Hillary supporters and everyone else. They bought the pretty used Italian supercar and ignored the warnings that it would never run and that looks were deceiving, and now they’re bitching about the HUGE repair bill

      Well duh.

      More important than the immediate response to Obama’s homophobia is a change in the collective consciousness of queer Americans — a decision to stop self-deception by exclusively tying our rights to any political party or movement.

      The comments show that a lot of queer voters still haven’t internalized that and don’t have the self-respect to just say no.

      Jun 15, 2009 at 4:47 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian Miller
      Brian Miller

      And PS — there’s no “hierarchy of constitutional rights.” You either have them ALL or you don’t.

      The Obama administration’s official policy is that you don’t and you shouldn’t — but this isn’t new. He bent over backwards during his entire campaign to underscore his opposition to marriage equality and other key LGBT constitutional concerns, but his fawning fans gave him a free pass.

      Jun 15, 2009 at 4:50 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • John in SF
      John in SF

      @SM: You all act like everything would pass with flying colors in the House and Senate now towards gay rights. Clinton tried and he FAILED…the gay community sure does seem to FAIL a lot so MAYBE YOU SHOULD TRY ANOTHER APPROACH.

      That’s right, we’ve failed a lot even though we keep lowering the bar. Let’s try another approach: Let’s try winning. Let’s try raising the bar to where it should be. Let’s lay it all on the table: Full civil rights for LGBT Americans now. No more excuses, no more delays.

      That’s why I support the Dallas Principles

      Jun 15, 2009 at 6:17 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Brian Miller
      Brian Miller

      @John in SF: But Obama and Di-Fi might get upset! Think of the pain you’re causing by demanding your rights! Can’t you be a 2/3 citizen for another 20 years or so?

      Jun 15, 2009 at 6:35 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Prof. Donald Gaudard
      Prof. Donald Gaudard

      @Dray: Obama had to time to meet with Nancy Reagan, time to sign an Executive Order to establish a commission to celebrate the 100th birthday of known homophobe Ronald Reagan, and time to have a jazz festival in the White House. So why doesn’t he have time to do something (anything) for gays? Or are you just being an apologist for a bigot?

      Jun 16, 2009 at 2:46 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • M Shane
      M Shane

      It seems idiotic for Queerty or anyone else with public exposure to be misrepresenting the ‘marriage issue’ as being one of civil rights . This is the tact that the right wing of the gay establishment has been doing to consruct a new closet for gay couples. Deciding that marriage constitutes a relation betwenn any two people has no precident anywhere . All that these characters are doing is decieving the gay public. and creating a religious war which gays cannot win.
      If DOMA were put before the Court who will give a strict interpretation of the Constitution it would be denied, because there i9s no precident in law as these people claim.

      This whole scam is no more than a moronic attempt to get gays to spend money for nothing. The only outcome, and the best and most ethical outcome will be to get Civil Unions which ethically would be our own kind of agreement.
      Pushing people to believe something which is neither true nor practical is just a way to get gay lawyers more work and to get the useless groups more to scam money about.

      Gay people should think and work on a platform that will work the only idiots to claim that DOMA and DADT are the only important things should be thrownin a dump.

      Jun 16, 2009 at 7:41 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cam
      Cam

      “Berry — with the okay from the White House — denies Obama and the Human Rights Campaign cut a deal to pass hate crimes legislation and workplace anti-discrimination measures while holding off on repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. ”
      _____________________________________________________________

      He wouldn’t know, the head of OPM is not in on any meetings like that. They just went to a high ranking gay to make the statement because heaven forbid it come from the press secretary or anybody else that the press may actually report on.

      Jun 17, 2009 at 1:09 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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