Obama Lawyers: Massachusetts Can’t Force Us To Give a Damn About Gay Marriages


In a artfully orchestrated Friday news dump, the White House filed court papers in Massachusetts’ Attorney General Martha Coakley’s lawsuit against the federal government, claiming the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional. Ready for DoJ’s unsurprising reply?

In a 36-page filing, the Obama administration — which has acknowledged DOMA is discriminatory, but argues it must continue defending it because it’s law — says Massachusetts cannot force the federal government to recognize the rights of legally married same-sex couples. That’s because there is “no fundamental right to marriage-based federal benefits.” And that reasoning comes courtesy of DOMA, which prevents the federal government from even recognizing gay marriages that, while legal in Massachusetts, are entirely meaningless at the federal level.

Massachusetts’ case hinges on the rights of 16,000 couples legally married there, who do not receive the same federal benefits their straight counterparts do. That sounds like discrimination to us! And, again, Obama has admitted as much. But there’s just no way to do anything about it, intimates DoJ, while DOMA is still on the books.

And until that happens, they’ll gladly continue insulting gay and lesbian Americans, and upholding discrimination in court.

Legal arguments: 1; Civil rights: 0.

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  • Stone

    Its regrettable and draining…but we will have our rights. The Federal battle is the hardest one. Right now all we can do is keep pushing Pres. Obama’s and his administration to recognize the rights of all the LGBT community that voted for him and his cabinet. The repeal of DOMA will be defeated..but it’ll take time. As we gain our rights…such as the passage of Civil marriages and The passages of hate crime bills…the walls of intolerance and homophobia will abate and crumble. Its inevitable! We must and will work together for our rights…gay and non gays, blacks, whites,latinos, Democrats and yes..even some Republicans. Its only a matter of time! Equality will NOT wait…because we will not!


  • Keith Kimmel

    Maybe the best way to go about this as follows:

    Lets have single men (gay and straight) sue the federal government for taxing single and married couples at different rates. Should be a legal argument that such violates equal protection clause to be made there.

    If they wont marry us, then fine. Lets tear down the institution of marriage (by dismantling, one by one, all of the legal privileges that it comes with) and give them what they want. Since they all claim the homos are gonna destroy the sanctity of the wretched little thing.

  • Orpheus_lost

    According to Andrew and a few others who post here, we deserve this because we haven’t done enough to change Obama’s or the AG’s mind in favor of GLBT rights. You see, we aren’t equal human beings and we don’t deserve rights unless everyone in the country wants us to have them. Until that time we just have to keep kissing asses and hoping that we become more popular.

    Kind of sounds stupid and self-loathing to me but these guys are posting in force here so I’m sure they’ll come around and explain it – 20 or 30 times.

  • Chuck

    And who’s surprised? Obama has and is a well oiled and funded political fantasy who will never support LGBT but only in the most insignificant way. Open your eyes. This guy is the master of saying exactly the opposite of what he will do, did and is doing even while he’s saying it. Incredible. What he WILL do is tax the hell out of our earnings, though. Just watch.

  • Brian

    Orpheus_Lost Said: “According to Andrew and a few others who post here, we deserve this because we haven’t done enough to change Obama’s or the AG’s mind in favor of GLBT rights. You see, we aren’t equal human beings and we don’t deserve rights unless everyone in the country wants us to have them. Until that time we just have to keep kissing asses and hoping that we become more popular.”

    Ahhh, O_lost, you’re the only one saying that. A few of us have introduced some ideas, but nobody has said anything like your quote above. In fact, your quote makes no sense at all.

    Jesus Christ, what IS your point? Try to at least appear thoughtful.

  • B

    No. 3 – You included the AG (Martha Coakley) in your “needing to change their minds” – Martha Coakley is the first AG in the country to bring suit against the feds on this- She has been with the LGBT from the start- always supported gay marriage and every other human rights issue. Please don’t put her in the same place as Obama- he could issue a signing statement getting rid of DADT but he hasn’t – no doubt pandering to his Rick Warren/evangelical base supporters- Martha Coakley has always been a major supporter of equal rights- and her actions speak as loud as her words.

  • Mark Reed

    I don’t think Orpheus thinks before he types.

  • Steve

    “Fierce Advocate” Obama starts over from zero, again. Every time he does one of these, he loses any credit he might have earned.

    He should learn. You cannot gain credibility by giving with one hand and stabbing in the back with the other.



  • John K.

    Seems to me, if the federal benefits are not necessarily tied to the well-settled federal right to marry (generally, not necessarily for gay couples), then there is no rational basis for denying those benefits to gay couples because they have nothing to do with “protecting” marriage per se. They are just benefits. That should mean the federal government is obliged to make them available either way.

  • Bruno

    The question isn’t whether or not LGBT married couples have the “right” to benefits, it’s as to whether or not the US government can DISCRIMINATE in such a manner. If marriage is left up to the states, I truly believe even the Supreme Court will find that the federal government can’t discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation in regards to legal marriages in states like Massachusetts. Their defense seems week to me, maybe by design.

  • Joe Lyman

    This case is different than the 2 previous dismissals by the Obama administration. I’m looking forward to following its appeal. Ultimately it’s a state’s rights issue. Saying that Massachusetts as a sovereign govt. is forced is discriminate against it’s citizens. Which is historically a conservative argument and if looked at by a conservative Supreme Count, it could be interesting. Where as with the Cali lawsuit over Prop 8, it’s baseless. It’s individuals suing the Fed. govt for something that isn’t even legal in their state at this time.

  • Chitown Kev

    @Joe Lyman


    This case will not be dismissed. And this, too, could go to SCOTUS.

  • Sapphocrat

    @Keith Kimmel: “Lets have single men (gay and straight) sue the federal government…”

    Is there a reason you specified men only, and excluded single women (lesbian and straight)?

  • PopSnap

    The DOJ *always* does this to any party suing the government for a law on the books. They can’t force anyone to dismiss a lawsuit against the government, hwoever.

  • Orpheus_lost

    LOL! I knew the apologists would come in force. They seem to want to suck up to everyone but GLBTers. What sad, self-hating human beings.

  • Rob Moore

    We are fools if we believe either of the two political parties gives a damn about our rights. The Republican Party has turned into a religious fascist party and is focused right now on purging the last hint of rationality and moderation. The Democrats can’t even agree to disagree. The Republicans are not the true opposition. The Blue Dogs are the true opposition party. They hold the veto power.

    Obama is focused on issues he considers bigger than our rights and thinks we should be satisfied with the tiny nonthreatening scraps he tosses our way; honoring Harvey Milk, allowing a few little benefits to shared with domestic partners although nothing big enough to raise the ire of the Blue Dogs. Lifting the travel ban on HIV+ foreigners is a nice symbolic gesture, but again, doesn’t have much effect since the whole thing was done on the honour system anyway. Repealing DOMA would be nice although probably not feasible with the Blue Dogs allied with the Republicans, but while the DOJ is duty bound to argue for DOMA, nothing says it has to argue for it the way it does.

    I fear nothing will be done in this term, and the likelihood that the Democrats will gain ground or even hold steady in 2010 is quite low. America’s innate attraction to fascist political extremists is always near the surface ready to reassert itself. This means nothing will happen. Obama has already peaked and is in a steady decline.

  • naghanenu

    Obama is not the problem…people.

    the people in ur congress u cannot even decide that they want to repeal this law are.

    this is a federal law. there are procedures. if he decides to temporarily suspend this law when exactly do u think it will be repealed mhmmm? the repubs will just bide their time till they run again and reverse it.

    obama’s ass is toast for a reelection. any democrats ass is come to think of it. repubs are not happy about the policies the dems have brought so far…case in point gay marriage..so get ready to fight for your rights all over again when repubs take over

  • InExile

    Obama is part of the problem because he is not leading congress, the tail is wagging the dog. People seem to take Obama’s re-election as a given but there are no guarantees. The 2010 mid-terms look like democrats will lose seats in both houses. If we want our rights, it’s now or never.

    Take for instance the health care debate, yesterday there was a story that the public option would only cover 2% of Americans. If that happens, the democrats days are numbered and we will be back to fighting republicans for our rights which is a battle we will not win.

  • PopSnap

    Excuse me, I’m not an “apologist”, but I’m not a reactionary either. Sorry I refuse to run around in circles, flinging my arms in the arm as if I’m going to be rounded up and thrown in a concentration camp. I simply stated a fact- the DoJ DOES THIS FOR EVERY SINGLE LAWSUIT AGAINST AN EXISTING LAW! That’s their purpose, Obama has stated he doesn’t agree with the law, therefore we have to take him at his word or withhold funding in 2012.

    Anyways, who would you rather have in office, the noble but ineffectual Democrats, or a far-right, nationalist, Christo-fascist party? Because that is exactly what the Republicans are now.

  • Brian NJ

    Gay people are so easy to play. It is the psychology of the ugly girl being invited to the popular kid’s party. Do you want me to bring a case of champagne? Sure!

    Joe Solomonese was rubbed a little, and squirted out Obama’s gay rights due date of 2017 like I have never seen.

    And remember, all this protection for unconstitutional laws! Just incredible.

  • Doug Glass

    InExile Said: “Obama is part of the problem because he is not leading congress, the tail is wagging the dog.”

    When he knows he does not have the votes pt pass Pro-LGBT legislation, how do you suppose he should “lead” the Congress?

  • Brian NJ

    Obama is required to pressure Congress, and get the votes all together to repeal DADT and DOMA. He does that for every other issue that he is working on. How did we get so low on the priority list? Don’t write you congressman. Demand to know from Obama and his brainwashed Renfrews why he is not working on two simple repeals.

  • Attmay

    So were lower on the totem pole than potheads now?

    I’m all for repealing the taxes for which “straight” married couples get benefits and removing all their legal privileges. It’s not like they deserve them anyway. Unfortunately, we gays do deserve them.

  • Orpheus_lost


    While I wasn’t referring to you when I called certain others “apologists”, I do have to point out that the DoJ never had to take this case in the first place. Even if you dismiss the fact that the DoJ under many other presidents, both democrat and republican, has refused to take on cases their administrations disagreed with, you still have the Obama administration refusing to take on medical marijuana cases that break federal laws. This means that Obama’s DoJ is willing to subvert the will of congress for certain issues, just not ours.

    There’s just no plausible excuse being offered by Obama’s DoJ, or his administration, that doesn’t fall flat when analyzed. Based on this, I can only assume that this president is not the “fierce advocate” he promised to be and will only respond to extreme political pressure. That means running around waving our arms in protest, refusing to donate to Obama’s campaign, the DNC, DSCC or DCCC, and make good on our threats not to vote for anyone who does not ACTIVELY support and push for GLBT rights.

    And my comments above were directed toward Brian and his sockpuppets who claim that political activism is useless because we can never be equal to heterosexuals until they all believe we’re equal. Its an asinine and self-loathing philosophy that he (they?) posts repeatedly in every political blog.

  • Jake the libertarian

    Barack Obama is the comander of the US armed forces. He could end DADT, or at least the enforcement of it, with the stroke of a pen. There is no constitutional requirement for congress to repeal the law. Until he does this… The easiest of all the demands that we have for equal rights, he is no friend of ours. It requires no votes, no discussion, no begging others to support it… Just leadership. He continues to refuse.

  • Steve

    If the Democrats want my money for the next election cycle, this administration needs to do some of that “Fierce Advocate” stuff. For each of the suits against DOMA and DADT, the Justice Department can file a brief that says, essentially, “DOMA is unconstitutional on equal protection grounds, and should be struck down.” Because LGBT are a protected class under the Mathew Shepard act, they should also make a good argument for strict scrutiny.

    If DADT and DOMA are still on the books next summer, it WILL affect my political contributions. If a third-party candidate commits to work for our issues, and runs against a Democrat who has not, that third party candidate will get my money instead of the Democrat. It could “spoil” that election. But, the Democrat was voting against my interests anyway, so a R in that seat won’t change anything.

  • Brian NJ


    I really think you are right about not supporting democrats in 2012. The gay rights leaders are in an abuse cycle with the democrats that has been going on since the 80’s, and the democrats wont repeal DADT and DOMA, and the older gay rights advocates can’t even bring themselves to criticize democrats one little tiny bit. A loss in the midterms will give us the leverage we need to get out current crop of democrats out of there and the useless gay advocates out of there. With new, younger brains, change will come. But not with sick crowd, where the abnormal has become normal to them.

    We need a new gay movement that is independent from the useless democratic party, who gave us DADT and DOMA to begin with.

    I am a lifelong democrat, but a stay at home movement makes sense now unless DADT and DOMA are repealed.

  • Brian NJ

    Vote are the only thing they understand. Let’s make them understand. They will understand that we have friends, family and associates and media that we greatly influence, too.

  • Attmay

    @26 Jake the Libertarian hit the nail on the head.

    Truman desegregated the military with the stroke of a pen. Executive Order 9981 was signed on July 26, 1948. It didn’t exactly cost him his job.

    Not supporting the Democrats in 2012? Why support them in 2010, either? Vote ABD in 2010: Anyone But Democrats. Republicans, Libertarians, Greens, Independents, as long as they are not a member of the Jackass party.

  • Sam

    Wow. You people live in crazy town. Congress just passed and Obama just signed the FIRST federal law protecting LGBT people. Ever. Soon they’ll pass ENDA as well. In the first 18 months of this administration we’ll have more protections for our community than we’ve had in the 230+ years since the country was founded. Yet Obama and Congress have done nothing in your eyes.

    Anyone who thinks that DOMA will get repealed before the Congressional mid-terms has obviously lost their grip on reality. It’s not because of Congress – it’s because the straights don’t want us to be able to marry. We can’t even get it in freaking CALIFORNIA and you think Congress, with members from Alabama and Utah and other horrifyingly red states, is going to repeal it? What planet are you on? For every one LGBT vote they lose for not repealing DOMA there are TEN crazy Christian votes they’d lose if they DID vote to repeal. Until that changes, our only hope is the courts.

    Politicians don’t lead anymore; they follow. If we want to get marriage we need to get out and talk to straight people and change their minds. We have to get them on our side. That takes hard work and organizing. But most folks don’t want to do that. They’d rather post bitchy comments on blogs.

    (If you’d actually like to help, Maine is looking for people to call supporters and remind them to vote for marriage equality. Today and tomorrow only! Sign up here: http://www.protectmaineequality.org/page.cfm?ID=151)

  • Jake the libertarian

    @ SAM

    Can you give me one coherent reason that Obama hasn’t ended the enforcement of DADT? Can you tell me why his justice department is supporting DOMA? Can you explain why he is openly and vocally opposed to gay marriage?

    As for the hate crimes legislation… I am not bitching. That was might nice of him to sign into law something that protects people… although I am personally against all hate crime legislation. If we are going to have it though, it certainly should include LGBT people.

    Look, no one is saying that he is as bad as the Christian Right. We are just making the point that he is not supporting us like he promised. Not all of us homos are big government liberals who want universal health care… I JUST WANT EQUAL FUCKING RIGHTS!!! Anyone who is for that is a friend today, anyone who is against it… an enemy.

  • Sam

    @Jake the Libertarian: Thing is, he IS supporting us, like he promised. He checked one of his promises off the list last week. He’ll check another one off when Congress sends him ENDA. This is how government works: SLOWLY. People on this site are pissed because he hasn’t solved every LGBT rights issue in his first nine months in office. That was never even REMOTELY within the realm of possibility and anyone who thinks that it was is fully delusional.

    As for DOMA and DADT: Do you really want the President to be able to selectively choose which laws s/he wants to enforce and follow and which s/he doesn’t? I’d have thought the Bush administration would have taught you the peril of that position. Anyone who advocates that Obama should set a precedent of not following the law in order to help us should be fully prepared for the inevitable shit storm when President Palin/Huckabee/Other Homophobe then follows his lead and refuses to follow the law in order to hurt us. The knife cuts both ways, people.

    Finally, he’s “opposed” to same-sex marriage because he wanted to get elected, which yes, is chicken shit. But if the commenters here ever read anything other than this poorly researched, often wrong drivel, they’d know that Obama came out in favor of marriage equality several times while in the Illinois Legislature… leading me to conclude that his “opposition” might not be quite as strong as you think it is.

  • Sam

    And just to fully illustrate my point above: If Obama’s DOJ chooses not to defend DOMA, then what’s to stop the next Repug DOJ from refusing to defend ENDA when the Alliance Defense Fund sues because it’s a violation of free speech or religious freedom or other such horseshit?

  • Jake the libertarian

    @ Sam

    I see your points however when it comes to DADT and DOMA. However i disagree that he would be choosing which laws to follow and which to not follow. There are very real constitutional arguments that needs to be answered with both of these programs.

    Congress, by my reading of the constitution, did not have the authority to enact a DoD policy (DADT). The President is the Commander in Chief of the US Armed Forces, not congress. The Department of Defense answers to the executive branch of our government. While I certainly agree that this is unfortunate in the case of a homophobic president, it should mean good things in the case of a LGBT friendly president.

    DOMA is a legislative travesty. It is in clear violation of the equal protection clause, as well as the full faith an credit clause. Barack Obama took an oath to protect and defend the constitution of the US, not follow the directives of congress. The lawsuit to end DOMA should be filed by his Justice Department, not defended by it.

    Finally, if you support gay marriage in America, say it. Don’t be whore politician… you already won the presidency… and I don’t two rats asses if he gets reelected if he does not support us now.

  • Keith Kimmel

    No. 14 · Sapphocrat

    @Keith Kimmel: “Lets have single men (gay and straight) sue the federal government…”

    “Is there a reason you specified men only, and excluded single women (lesbian and straight)?”

    No, its what came to mind. I should have said single people. Sorry to anyone who may have been offended, I was not meaning to be exlusive of females. In fact, from a strategy standpoint, it may be better to have single women of lower income file instead of men, would be more sympathetic.

  • Sapphocrat

    @Keith Kimmel: Thanks for replying. I understand. It just tweaked this old dyke’s radar. :)

    Sadly, you’re probably right: Lower-income single women (IMO, straight, not lesbian) would carry more weight. (At least until the Teabag Brigades hauled out the ol’ “welfare queen” schtick.)

Comments are closed.