All straight federal employees get to share health benefits with their spouses. But when federal court employee Karen Golinski’s wife got denied health benefits because of DOMA, Golinski decided to sue along with Lambda Legal in Golinski v. United States Office of Personnel Management. But even if you haven’t heard of the case, hear this: in response to the case the Department of Justice submitted a 31-page brief detailing how “the federal government has played a significant and regrettable role in the history of discrimination against gay and lesbian individuals.” This is a very big deal.
Chris Geidner from Metro Weekly explains:
[The] filing does more than acknowledge the federal government’s role in discrimination, going on to detail specific instances of anti-gay and anti-lesbian discrimination, including the 1950 Senate resolution seeking an “investigation” into “homosexuals and other sexual perverts” in government employement and President Dwight Eisenhower’s executive order adding “sexual perversion” as a ground for “possible dismissal from government service,” in the brief’s words. It also details the role of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Postal Service in investigations seeking information about government employees suspected of such “perversion.”
The brief goes on to describe anti-gay and anti-lesbian state and local discrimination, as well as private discrimination, before discussing other considerations made by courts when deciding what level of scrutiny should be applied to laws classifying groups — including immutability; political powerlessness; and whether the classification bears any relation to, as the brief puts it, “legitimate policy objectives or ability to perform or contribute to society…”
[Then] After detailing why [DOMA fails to support any important government objective], the brief concludes, “[T]he official legislative record makes plain that DOMA Section 3 was motivated in substantial part by animus toward gay and lesbian individuals and their intimate relationships, and Congress identified no other interest that is materially advanced by Section 3. Section 3 of DOMA is therefore unconstitutional.”
Basically instead of just saying that section 3 of DOMA is unconstitutional, Obama’s administration said its part of a larger system of nationwide institutional abuses against gay Americans throughout history and THUS the court should find DOMA unconstitutional as well. It sounds curiously like the historical testimony Olson and Boies offered in the Prop 8 trial.
Basically, it’s a huge boon for the gay community that really shakes up the remaining DOMA lawsuits with an implicit government admission that it has had a direct role in unconstitutional anti-gay discrimination, a history that must stop today—amazing!
One last thing: since the United States Office of Personnel Management has no dispute over the facts presented in Golinski’s case, Golinski has filed a brief for a summary judgement asking to skip a trial and judge the case based solely on legal facts; meaning that her case might get a ruling sooner rather than later.
Will courts strike down DOMA before next Election Day?
My man Obama, our advocate! Suck it republicans!
I look for this to all come to a head in the US Supreme Court, where Prop 8 and DOMA are thoroughly and FINALLY questioned – by that I mean, hopefully the legal powers in this country will finally open their eyes to this true discrimation. The LGBT community has done nothing to harm the fabric of society, the sanctity of the American family, nor has it undermined ANY national security. All the LGBT community wants are the rights that all American citizens enjoy – without question, without debate, and without having to fucking beg for them.
Uh huh, the gay Republicans are going to shoot this down in 3, 2, 1….
@tjr101: word. president palin would mandated gay marriage by now.
“Unlike in other cases where DOJ has stopped defending DOMA,” lawyers for the department “made an expansive case in a 31-page filing that DOMA is unconstitutional,” Metro Weekly reports. Previously, the Justice Department had simply attached a letter issued in February by Atty. Gen. Eric Holder saying that the administration would no longer defend the law.
Before the administration took that position, the Justice Department had argued for the dismissal of Golinski’s case.”
It is gratifying to observe how Obama has “evolved” from an total A-hole to suddenly becoming our titular Savior as election 2012 creeps a little closer; especially with his approval ratings in the crapper. Hey, better late than never — I suppose. But it still begs the question: Why didn’t Obama and the DOJ takes this legal tact before the White House succeeded in alienating tens of millions of voters in the GLBT community who supported him only to have him spit in their collective faces as he defended DADT and DOMA in the most aggressive and vile manner which would have made both a homophobic Republican Administration and neo-nazi NOM drool in nefarious glee?
@Rainfish: Seriously! I guess change happens overnight and Rome was built in one day. PEACELUVNBWILD!
Please, oh please let this come to pass! I will repent of everything nasty I ever said about Mr. Obama if his DOJ holds firm and pulls this off. What a brilliant plan!
K in VA
That’s what I call Fierce Advocacy!
christopher di spirito
If DOMA goes all the way to the US Supreme Court, as many legal analysts believe it will, I think there is a very good chance it will be struck down as unconstitutional.
Not by the current conservative Roberts court, it won’t.
christopher di spirito
@Austin: The Olsen/Boise challenge to Prop 8 is based on the 10th Amendment. The SCOTUS has a long history of upholding the Amendments. We will see though.
Well it is unconstitutional and keeping my wife and I apart along with 40,000 others . It would be better as a country to admit a flaw and move on . Federal law invading on my rights sucks when everyday things don’t affect us we can’t be together because of ignorance in my country.WAKE UP AMERICA United we stand,divided we fall . Now that still has meaning
I’m no legal scholar, but Ms. Golinski’s “Motion for Summary Judgement” (If you click the link, and then the link in that article, and then read the whole damn thing) is pretty nicely written, and completely blows up the fact that the BLAG has repeatedly refused to respond to her requests to assist BLAG’s fact finding mission, and that Lambda Legal has relied on pure case law and precident in their argument. Not to mention that Ms. Golinski’s team has actually used previous and on-going cases where BLAG is fighting for DOMA to help BLAG.. and yet BLAG still refuses. Not only do I think the DOJ’s filing genious. I Also have to give a giant round of applause to LamdaLegal, et al. for their Motion filed Friday. It was clear. Precise. To the point. I would love to hear what actual legal people think about her motion, it’s merits, etc.
I have a feeling things are going to get pretty good for us p.r.e.t.t.y. soon! Thanks L.L.
HRC to try to take credit in… Three… Two… One…
An entire history of discrimination against gays and lesbians without any proof that the country has benefited from said discrimination? It looks like the Supreme Court won’t have anything left to do but read a few filings and say okay.
We’ve got several cases challenging DOMA for a variety of reasons – Prop 8 affects its core basis, Golinski has fought it under grounds of equal distribution of benefits, etc. If people keep taking different angles at it, there won’t be anything left unscathed.
Now with this history, and especially coupled with the 80 findings of facts in Perry, along with the still growing rate of acceptance and states approving gay marriage, this battle (and I say this with cautious optimism) is about as good as won.
christopher di spirito
It’s interesting too how et-setting, fat-hating First Lady, Michelle Obama, is no friend to the gay community. Let’s be perfectly clear. Mrs. Obama may adore her community vegetable gardens and military families but when it comes to supporting the civil rights of gay Americans — specifically marriage equality, the First Lady needs to evolve.
Case in point, former New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey recently suggested First Lady Michelle Obama supported gay marriage. Mrs. Obama nearly knocked down her elderly mother to deny it.
During a CNN In the Arena interview, host Eliot Spitzer asked McGreevey, who came out gay amid a sex scandal that ultimately forced him to resign as governor, if he was disappointed with President Obama’s weaselly position on the issue.
“If he could only listen to Michelle more often. I think the president is moving. And, you know, for many elected officials they all started in the same place, you know, marriage is between a man and a woman, but they understand that they are moving inevitably, catching up to the American public.”
On Tuesday, the First Lady’s Communications Director Kristina Schake immediately pushed back on McGreevey’s claim telling POLITICO:
“Mrs. Obama has never made any public statements about same-sex marriage.”
The First Lady had the option of saying nothing but instead chose to telegraph the view that she’s in lockstep with her husband on the issue. President Obama has repeatedly said he believes marriage is between a man and woman but not same-sex couples. The basis for his viciously homophobic view is based solely on religion.
This is a great development. However, please keep in mind that 1 year ago a Massachusetts federal court ruled that Section 3 of DoMA is unconstitutional. Obama appealed that ruling and asked for a stay. DoMA is still being enforced.
The people to thank are Lambda Legal, ACLU and Glaad for bring numerous lawsuits against this filthy law.
@K in VA: “That’s what I call a fierce advocate.” No, actually Gov. Andrew Cuomo is a fierce advocate. But, if Obama keeps moving in the correct direction we might consider him for 2nd place.
@christopher di spirito: You’re grasping at straws, the statement means precisely what it says. We’ve never heard Michelle O utter a single word about same-sex marriage.
The better question would be for Gov. McGreevey to elaborate on what he’s personally heard from the first lady.
Gov. Cuomo was operating in a totally different environment, New York, his political fortunes will clearly be boosted from his actions. The previous Gov. Patterson showed the same steadfastness in supporting gay marriage. Not that I am not pleased with Gov. Cuomo but his actions didn’t take much fortitude, the adversary of gay marriage in NY were weak. Obama is embroiled in an entirely different scenario where not only can his election fortunes be hurt but out right support can also focus the laser of the people trying to destroy him at us. He also faces a much stronger adversary that has shown their effectiveness in the political arena. The president has shown himself to be an adept politician with his non committal style. He is also very effective at carrying out the governments function until enough evidence is acquired to support a change in stance, he does his job while he builds his case. He has been the most effective president at deporting illegals, that doesn’t mean when the time comes he won’t do everything in his power to provide a human route to citizenship for those individuals. The president has made it clear that he is an ally of ours, but also made it clear that his strategies to get things done are on a plane above what most in this community can understand; that usually leads to frustration. One thing that we can understand are victories, and he is delivering them. He did said that this community would be very pleased with him at the end of two terms, and I don’t doubt that. The transformations of GBLT disgusted with Obama to liking him is already taking place. The problem with the relationship with this president is merely a result of people not understanding his style, and lingering frustrations with previous administrations that abandoned our case.
@christopher di spirito: The first lady has a role in the administration, and that is to stay out of controversial issues. Her job is to bring attention to important but overlooked issues that can galvanize people of all political stripes to support it. A popular first lady is an asset to any president, Hillary deviated from that role and caused the Clinton administration a lot of strife. It was no surprise that Clinton sidelined her. Jumping heals first into this issue in the public eye would be counter productive for all of us, the counsel she gives the president in private is what is most effective.
@tjr101: The best thing for McGreevey is to keep his mouth shut.
Here is why the case is Golinski v OPM: Obama’s Office of Personnel Management provoked Ms Golinski’s suit by unlawfully ignoring a judge’s order.
Despite a legal decision in Golinski’s favor holding that a particular federal law allowed for Golinski to add her legal spouse to her employer’s Blue Cross plan without offending DOMA, Obama’s OPM nonetheless ignored that decision and ordered Blue Cross not to process Golinski’s wife’s application, citing DOMA. (To add a bit of insult to injury, Obama’s House Homo OPM Director John Berry was dispatched to do the deed. Blue-on-blue violence! Hurray!)
So Golinski was compelled to sue to enforce Judge Kozinski’s decision in her favor — because the Obama Administration wouldn’t respect it. And yes, the judge had the jurisdiction and competence to make that ruling.
If the administration is now — having been dragged into court once again over the same issue — reversing themselves by admitting they’re engaging in unconstitutional discrimination, that’s hardly a “huge boon” for the gay community. It simply raises the question yet another “WHY THE FUCK ARE YOU DISCRIMINATING AGAINST US AND FIGHTING US IN COURT IN THE FIRST PLACE?”
The mere fact a guy finally stops beating me is scarcely a testimony to his good sense and decency. Do not tell me I bear some obligation to praise him.
He may be trying to duplicate Cuomo’s gambit. He can ally himself with liberal social causes, be feted as social progressive by many useful idiots who identify as democrat, while still being an arch fiscal conservative republican. In this manner, he avoids threatening corporate donors and wealthy DINOS who have gay friends and family members. Like Cuomo and Karger, he can be a progressive republican. In any event, you can bank on this having nothing to do with a sincere change of heart contrasted with a calculated campaign decision. And even if this goes nowhere (which it likely will), it’s catnip to gay friendly pro choice republicans who dominate the democratic party elite, and can be used to spin Obama’s open hostility toward those who got him elected (the actual left) into reconciliation.
@the crustybastard: You obviously missed the entire point, if the doj had let the original ruling stand they would not have had the opportunity to challenge the legal standing of DOMA. The administration can say all day that DOMA is unconstitutional, that means nothing, in order for it to matter the argument has to be presented in the right manner in court where a ruling can be made on their argument. By making the initial challenge to the ruling they set the stage for themselves to challenge the constitutionality of DOMA. In order for things to change the government has to lose in a certain way in court, and that is what they are trying to do. It may not be comprehensible to you, but that is why the doj is loaded with intelligent attorneys that understand how the legal system works. They can devise complex schemes to attempt to reach their desired end goal.
“It may not be comprehensible to you, but that is why the doj is loaded with intelligent attorneys that understand how the legal system works”
Like monica goodling and the dominionist horde held over from Bush II. Basically, your circular cheer reduces to, “only good lawyers who understand how the legal system works are at the DOJ because if they weren’t good lawyers who understand how the legal system works, they wouldn’t be at the DOJ”. This brief isn’t rhetoric meant to attract the disaffected mass of voters who expected, say, real healthcare reform, negotiations with republicans that were more than operettas to fix soundbites, and banking/finance reforms that were more than taxpayer giveaways to international crime syndicates. No, it’s not meant to lure back the progressive vote after being called “retards” by the neoliberal minister of propaganda Rahm Emanuel, and hitherto shunned by the administration (specifically by that message manager and minder Jim Messina whose sole mission was to silence progressive voices). Instead, it’s all about a sincere desire for equality for a gays and lesbians from the “god is in the mix,” “evolving,” consummate politician, right? The office of personnel management deliberately refused to acknowledge a judge’s order to provoke the lawsuit, which would then demand a response so that they could give voice to their Mr. Smith goes to warshington awww shucks, mister bromides to lull the disaffected into a temporary state of blissful sedation. But gays, like most minority voters, aren’t known for nuance.
@Ganondorf: Sure there maybe some crappy attorneys at doj, but that is the case at any organization. There are also lots of very good attorneys there that know the system very well, including individuals with republican and democrat leanings. I may dislike some of there political leanings, but that doesn’t detract from them being excellent at their craft. Rahm served his purpose, whether a better health care bill could have passed without breaking the fragile coalition is questionable. Rahm is a bit to calculating for his own good, and would have probably prevented the LGBT victories that we have obtained from this administration, but that is why there is turnover. We have new people to help the president push the next part of his agenda, who may have been terrible at pushing the first part. You might hate people for being politicians, but hey that is the arena that they are in. Getting things done requires being a skillful politician. It is impossible to get everything that you want, or even avoid making mistakes along the way. They are operating in very complex environment, and what my seem simple to Joe may be very difficult. Ask any noble prize winner in science whether they made serious mistakes along the way? But, that is almost a requirement to do great things, and to the untrained eye the accomplishments look simple. “God in the mixs” is extremely important for us every reaching true equality, and an evolving leader that is religious sends a powerful message. We can be granted equal rights, but if a large sector of the population doesn’t see us as equal we will never be. Whether slipping our resume into the trash, cheating us in business dealings, or just being resentful can have a profound impact on our lives. We are dependent on large numbers of Christians evolving, we have already experienced a marked shift in Catholics. Mr. Smith is going to Washington with a plan to kill DOMA, it’s chess v.s. checkers. The pawn wasn’t sacrificed becuase the player hates him, but as a means to the ends (being victorious). I understand that we have a different approach to politics, I don’t see things as black and white. I used to despise people that did, but at some point I realized that the edges serve an important purpose. At the end of the day we are on the same team and are in support of “mostly” the same outcomes if you are in the activist progressive wing or the nuanced grappling :)wing of the party.
Is this a stump speech? You’re a true believer, and the poorly cobbled together string of cliches and “common wisdumb” narrative decoys to distract from the fact that Obama is using this as a tool to lure the progressive vote back after repeatedly blowing them off and insulting them for expecting him to fulfill his campaign promises that initially attracted them to him in the first place. Yes, Rahm served his purpose, and apparatchiks like you can safely criticize him now that he’s mayor of chicago, and safely removed from administration to further increase your credibility amongst the same progressives who less than a year ago, you and yours blisteringly denounced. He’s a useful bogeyman, now that he can lose nothing. “We tried to stop him! He was out of control. He threatened to rape my wife and murder my children! Nothing I could do, really! But I hated him so much, and agreed with you, my good friends!” LMAO!
“You might hate people for being politicians, but hey that is the arena that they are in”
Nah. I do, however, hate politicians who never stop campaigning and neglect to govern effectively and with integrity. Getting things done isn’t synonymous with making a pretty speech and selling your main constituency and country down the river in the name of expediency so that you can have the opportunity to tell them that you’re going to get things done. And further, I reject the overarching theme in your response that the way things are done is the only way that they can be done. You are the past.
@Ganondorf: Quite angry huh? Me and mine blisteringly denounced? Actually I recall saying less than a year ago that it was dangerous for the administration to aide in fracturing the relationship with progressives, both groups need each other in the end. I am progressive on several issues. Haha you really hate Rahm don’t you. I didn’t consider that a blistering criticism but merely a realization that Rahm is sometimes blinded by his own intuition. I don’t consider him a bogeyman, he has done a lot of great things for the democratic party including aiding in the engineering of the short lived super-majority along with Dean. Which president in history do you not hate then? I will ignore your personal attack as a temporary lapse in judgement…
There is a lot of big fights coming up including social security, supreme court, medicare, gay rights etc. Who do you prefer at the helm when changes have to be made? We have a lot to lose over pettiness. The president deserves some criticism and prodding, but character assassination doesn’t motivate him or advance our agenda. Is there anything this president has done that you like?
“I don’t consider him a bogeyman, he has done a lot of great things for the democratic party”
“I am progressive on several issues.”
The lost art of comedy.
“including aiding in the engineering of the short lived super-majority along with Dean”
That achieved what, exactly? Oh right, it achieved the short lived super majority. That’s it, though.
“Who do you prefer at the helm when changes have to be made?”
It really doesn’t matter anymore. I mean, you really believe that this was a sincere effort from inception to this point to support gay rights, because you’re not particularly sensitive to evidence or the political calculations for 2012. And you buoy that groundless faith on the perceived competence of the department of justice…oy. I haven’t the inclination to prolong a conversation with someone as universally tone deaf, uninformed and dogmatic as you have proven. Good day.
@Ganondorf: Same to you…
@The Artist who wrote: “@Rainfish: Seriously! I guess change happens overnight and Rome was built in one day. PEACELUVNBWILD!”
Much gratitude for the cliche’ response. If inconsistency, with a dash of sadomasochism in a relationship, is your cup of tea when it comes to those you support then, by all means, keep your membership in the Battered Housewives Club. While I am glad that Obama finally is directing his DOJ to argue in defense of our civil rights — what he should have done on day one in office without the involvement of congress — he still owes us a gigantic apology for the total betrayal of our trust in the last two plus years when he was defending DADT and DOMA in the most aggressive and obnoxious manner. The fact of the matter is, the same legal tact he is using today to defend our civil rights could have been used then.
Yes, of course. Thanks for popping up like clockwork to remind us that nobody understands how the legal system works except you.
You are a magical fucking unicorn, a very special snowflake, and a national goddam treasure!
I will tell you one last time: just because you don’t understand how something works, doesn’t mean other people don’t understand either. You just don’t understand. You. Really.
@James: If you think that Governor Cuomo’s “actions didn’t take much fortitude” you obviously do not live in New York.
You see Obama as “an adept politician with a non committal style.” I see him as a spineless coward with no principles.
When people like you come onto this blog and tell me that I’m too stupid to understand what Obama’s doing, it makes me never want to vote for him. So, your specious arguments are having the opposite effect of what you desired. Your opinion is of no value to me.
Coupled with Justice and Education both siding for the parents of the late Seth Walsh against a Tehachapi, CA school district on the matter of Seth’s bullycide, this represents yet another significant crack in the wall.
As well, DADT is almost dead (we’re waiting, Mr. Panetta).
DOMA actions are being increasingly focused on constitutional matters.
Things are developing well. The last 2-1/2 years (compared to the last 20) have been virtually set on “fast-forward.”
@Markie-Mark: From what I have seen of your previous comments this is not a president you would ever vote for, and to tell you the truth I don’t care. I did not mention the word stupid once, so you are drawing your own conclusions.
@the crustybastard: I don’t know what clock you are talking about granted I have never conversed with you before. I also never said anything about anyone aptitude regarding the legal system, I merely expressed my opinion that clearly makes your blood boil. The majority of this community sees past the hatred that some in the blogsphere hold, and will support the president. Have fun watching the president to continue to make history, future generations of gays will look fondly back on this president.
An Ella Fan
@tjr101: Michelle Obama is not an elected official. She does not make policy. Have you gone from continually calling POTUS Obama “….a piece of shit” which you have done at least a couple of times, to now setting your sites on what Michelle should or should not being doing? Really????
An Ella Fan
Sorry tjr101 – my comments were in response to christopher di spirito….
Ever notice how the Gay Republicans attack and attempt to tear down anything the Obama Administration does which benefits gay people, yet they can point to absolutely no one in their party who has done as much – or will do anything at all – as Obama.
Check out some of the posts above to see who I mean.
It’s not too difficult….
Because there is no such thing as legitimate criticism of Obama? Or perhaps there is, but it needs to be rubber stamped by you, because you’re clearly a qualified judge of such matters by your own admittance.
So… if this, or a similar case, were before the Supreme Court *right now*, with both the plaintiffs (whoever they may be) and the supposed defenders AGREEING that the law is unconstitutional, would the conservative faction of the court still uphold DOMA? If so, how would they justify it, or would they even bother doing so?
@Ganondorf: Of course there is legitimate criticism of Obama. Plenty of it. But, I am a fan of his – for many reasons, but my favorite is that he really pisses off and frustrates you angry neo-cons. From DADT to DOMA to this weekend’s amazing admission – the man is going about change in the right way. Through the courts with strong arguments on his (our) side. Some other Queerty poster said it better, more action regarding LGBT equality in the last 2-1/2 years than in the preceding two decades. For the record, I noticed that you chose not to respond to my statement regarding you and your fellow Republicans’ leadership. I said no one in your party has done as much for gays as the Obama Administration has. It appears and you conveniently chose to side step that statement. You passed on a response, preferring instead to attack.
Fellow republican? No, not all criticism of Obama is from Republicans. Much of the criticism is from progressives who are dissatisfied with his horrendous record of capitulation to republican demands (e.g., the bush era tax cut extension and refusal) and his role in the passage of what amounts to a $16 billion giveaway to the insurance monopoly. His healthcare “reform” is arguably one of the worst pieces of legislation in american history. His trillion dollar giveaway to the banking industry notwithstanding. His handling of gay rights has nothing to do with a concern for you or any other gay person in this country. He was forced to come around on DADT, which is was bitterly opposed to repeal at that time until he realized it was more expedient to reverse direction. This positioning is a naked attempt to court disaffected progressives who are repulsed by his republican style of governance, whether it’s the extension of bush era foreign policy or expansion of gitmo.
I’ve noticed that you haven’t mentioned a single issue. A hazy reference to gay rights which is more bluster than substantive action (obama didn’t pass DADT repeal, and was dragged kicking and screaming to the finish line only to later take as much credit for its passage as he could spin, with idiots like you more than willing to give it to him), and an accusation that anyone who criticizes Obama is a neocon, and that you hate neocons for some reason. You are no better than a teapartier–are a “fan” of a politician. Please don’t think you’re superior to a bachmann or palin supporter, because you’re not. You’re a fan, just like them. You have nothing to say and no thought worth reading on the matter.
@Ganondorf: Please mention a viable candidate to the left of Obama that you like? Nader, Kucinich?
@Ganondorf: If you’re not a politician, you should be. Hard to imagine anyone else producing the word count that you do, along with the ad hominem all the while managing to avoid the central question put to you.
DADT, DOMA, tacit acknowledgement of the Federal Government’s bias towards LGBT are hazy gay issues to you?
Here’s hoping you share all that misguided passion and anger with someone between the sheets, otherwise it’s wasted effort. You GOPers can’t match or touch Obama as far as GLBT issues are concerned.
I understand, yet revel, in your frustration…..
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