either/or

Obama Might Think Gay Marriage Ban Is Unconstitutional, But Not Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, So There!

Sure, he may have led — okay, followed — the effort to legislatively repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, and he may have just revealed he believes the Defense of Marriage Act’s ban on recognizing legal gay marriages is unconstitutional, but that doesn’t mean the president and his Justice Department lawyers are going to merge those two beliefs into one happy Let’s All Be Gay Together strategy. Just two days after Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder came down hard on DOMA’s Section 3, DoJ indicated it’s not giving up its DADT fight in court. In fact, it’s taking a new tact.

Filing a brief on Friday with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Log Cabin Republicans v. United States, DoJ is trying a revised strategy:

Rather than defend the law [DADT] itself as constitutional, the department instead asserted that Congress acted constitutionally in December, when it decided to leave the policy in place even as the Pentagon prepares to abandon it. “[E]nacting this orderly process was well within Congress’s considerable constitutional authority in crafting legislation concerning military affairs,” the department said in its brief. It was far from the same sort of clarion call against anti-gay discrimination issued on Wednesday. Then, the Obama administration dramatically reversed itself by announcing it had decided that DOMA, which bans federal recognition of same-sex marriages, isn’t just bad policy, it’s outright unconstitutional. But the White House just wasn’t willing to say the same about banning openly gay men and women from serving in the military.

Asked what differentiated the DOMA and the DADT decisions, a Justice Department spokesperson told HuffPost that “the constitutionality of DADT must be viewed in light of the special deference courts grant to the military.” In that context, the spokesperson said, the administration’s conviction that laws regarding sexual orientation should be subject to a particularly rigorous legal standard still “does not therefore mean that DADT is unconstitutional.”

See, when anti-gay discrimination is performed by men and women wearing wrinkle-free uniforms and a bunch of bling on their chests, then it’s TOTALLY OKAY. When it’s a bunch of paper shuffling civil servants sitting in windowless offices in government buildings, well then‘s it’s just harsh.