[UPDATED] Federal Government Will No Longer Defend Defense of Marriage Act

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UPDATE, FEB. 23, 4:18 P.M.: The couple who filed the first marriage-equality case in California and later became petitioners to overturn Proposition 8, Diane Olson and Robin Tyler, said today's decision by the Obama administration to stop defending the federal government's anti-gay-marriage law is "a huge win."

"I wept when I heard the news," Tyler writes in an e-mail to the Weekly. "I now am beginning to believe that within my lifetime, Diane and I will gain federal recognition. I believe that the president's decision was due to activism on the streets and advocacy in the courts and the political system."

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Courtesy of Robin Tyler and Diane Olson
California's first couple
"We are ecstatic that the president has declared the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional," Olson adds. "As a married couple, the fact that we are being denied federal benefits and that this administration finally has said that denying federal benefits is not 'equality under the law' is a huge step forward."

The Lost Hills couple, who were the first and only pair to marry in Los Angeles County on June 16, 2008, have alternated "between laughing and crying" as marriage equality has been legitimized and outlawed during the decades they have been battling the issue.

"We truly believe this is the beginning of the end of accepting that kind of bigotry," their joint message to the Weekly ends. "We must not only tell the next gay generation that it gets better, but we must also make it better. Today was a huge win."

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UPDATE, FEB. 23, 3:39 P.M.: Far be it from this corner to suggest some collusion was going on, but moments after the Obama administration's announcement against defending the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), attorneys for same-sex couples in California asked a federal appeals court to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry. Those attorneys also claim the DOMA decision hurts the prospects of Proposition 8, California's same-sex marriage ban, from prevailing in court.

Ironically, one of those attorneys is Ted Olson, who was then-President George W. Bush's solicitor general. In February 2004, Bush called for a constitutional amendment to outlaw gay marriage because, he argued, DOMA was vulnerable to attack from "activist judges."

Arguing on behalf of same-sex couples, Olson says the Prop. 8 appeal is taking much longer than expected, subjecting California's gays and lesbians to daily injustice.

"They and their most cherished relationships have been formally branded by their state as different, inferior and unequal," said Olson. "That discrimination inflicts countless injuries every single day. It is a badge of inferiority that cannot be hidden or suspended while this litigation goes forward."

The California Supreme Court agreed last week to rule on whether Prop. 8 proponents have standing to appeal a federal judge's ruling against the voter initiative. Attorneys for same-sex couples estimate that could add a year to the appeals process.

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ORIGINAL POST, FEB. 23, 9:58 A.M.: The U.S. government will stop defending the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act, the Justice Department announced today.

Attorney General Eric Holder said President Barack Obama concluded his administration can no longer defend the federal law that defines marriage as only between a man and a woman, the Washington Post reports.

Until now, the Justice Department had been defending the Defense of Marriage Act signed by then-President Bill Clinton in 1996.

Obama concluded Section 3 of the law--the part that defines marriage for federal purposes as the union of a man and a woman--is unconstitutional, something a federal district court judge also concluded in July 2010. That decision was appealed.

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909Jeff
909Jeff

All of you keep arguing about whether or not gays can marry... And I have rather strong opinions on this myself but its neither here nor there. More importantly though, isn't anyone out there concerned that the President has decided to no longer enforce the law? "Obama concluded Section 3 of the law--the part that defines marriage for federal purposes as the union of a man and a woman--is unconstitutional" Well Good for you Obama! Maybe thats how things work in "Indo-kenya" or wherever your from, but thats not how we work here in the United States.... Introduce legislation to overturn the law get it passed and then sign it into law.

We should all be scared by this... To allow the president to simply pick and choose which laws he wants enforced is akin to a monarchy.

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Bill T.
Bill T.

When I first heard the manufactured name of this bill the ver first thought I had was "just whose marriage is it defending?". Not mine, my marriage (37 years in December last) will be just fine whether it stays or goes. Do you plan on getting a divorce if gay marriage is nstituted? It's about the civil institution and fairness in distribution of benefits. If you believe that your marriage is "before God", how would that be changed?

Bill T.
Bill T.

I've waited a week and none of you bigots can come up with anything like a coherent reply. Or even one of your more usual incoherent rants. What a surprise. In the other replies I see only the tired old arguments. It's time to gt over it.

Shootmealine
Shootmealine

it is not right marrage is between husban and wife not same sex read the bible

Equality for All
Equality for All

Yet, another idiot. What a surprise. Can I suggest that you enroll in an English class or two? Graduate and then come back and use proper grammar. I'm surprised you spelled the word 'bible' correctly.

Katahdin
Katahdin

George Bush was never serious about a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. It was just a meaningless campaign promise. Once he got his second term, he ignored gay marriage. He did put a lot of political capital into his effort to destroy social security and turn into a slush fund for wall street, which he never campaigned on. Just goes to show how the Republican Party uses, then laughs at, social conservatives.Actually, social conservatives should fear civil unions, since they give couples many of the legal advantages of marriage, but without the entanglements of divorce. Civil unions would therefore be attractive to heterosexual couples, and under the equal protection clause of 14th Amendment could not be denied to them. That would do more to undermine traditional marriage than keeping Adam and Steve from tying the knot.

909Jeff
909Jeff

Oh geez where to start... Well, King George never waved his royal staff a declared a law uncostitutional like Obama did... Furthermore, If I could stop paying social security and be responsible for my own retirement like we all should be I would in a heartbeat. I know for a certainty that I can get a better return on my investment than the federal government can. and you said "His effort to destroy Social Security" in case no one has brought you up to speed Social Security has been on a rocket sled to hell since its inception. Its only a matter of time before the whole house of cards falls in on itself.

Guests
Guests

YEAH!!! Polygamy and polyandry here we come!!!

drklassen
drklassen

1) Probably not; marriage is a simple 2-person contract that just won't work, as is, for multiple parties. As such, multi-party unions are best handled with a lawyer.

2) So what...?

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Myers
Myers

Wow all of a sudden marriage is sacred again. Really I couldn't tell with all the Divorce Courts and Divorce Lawyers. Mindy and Susan you guys are clueless. The government should have ZERO say in who you love. It's none of their business who I fall in love with or anyone else's. Marriage a bond between people, what should the sex of those people have to do with anything. If Susan and Mindy get their way one day the government might decided that the sex of someone determines the face value of paper money or how the IQ test scales by sex. PS Susan and Mindy you don't have to be married to receive Medicare or anything else EITHER OF YOU IDIOTS talked about. Also I haven't researched this but I'm 95% sure that the MAJORITY of homosexual relationships are two job relationships and their burden on us would just as bad as any male and female marriage.

zangorango
zangorango

Oh wow, thats interesting. Wonder what brought that on?

M.Funkibut
M.Funkibut

So the DOJ has decided there are those things that the Bush admin. did that it can no longer defend.

Wonder if torture will be next? Or maybe even they'll charge a Wall Street banker with a crime?

The mind reels...

Bill T.
Bill T.

Actually althought it's not well advertised, there are fraud and securties violations cases being prosecuted. That's not sexy news for some reason (I have no idea why Channel 7 wouldn't consider such cases news-worthy except for the fact that they're so worthless to begin with).

Damon Clark
Damon Clark

Because I can't say it any better with regards to the institution of marriage, the following excerpt is from http://www.janegalt.net/blog/a...

"Why not make divorce easier to get...

Because if you make divorce easier, said the critics, you will get much more of it, and divorce is bad for society.

That's ridiculous! said the reformers. People stay married because marriage is a bedrock institution of our society, not because of some law! The only people who get divorced will be people who have terrible problems! A few percentage points at most!

Oops. When the law changed, the institution changed. The marginal divorce made the next one easier. Again, the magnitude of the change swamped the dire predictions of the anti-reformist wing; no one could have imagined, in their wildest dreams, a day when half of all marriages ended in divorce.

There were actually two big changes; the first, when divorce laws were amended in most states to make it easier to get a divorce; and the second, when "no fault" divorce allowed one spouse to unilaterally end the marriage. The second change produced another huge surge in the divorce rate, and a nice decline in the incomes of divorced women; it seems advocates had failed to anticipate that removing the leverage of the financially weaker party to hold out for a good settlement would result in men keeping more of their earnings to themselves.

What's more, easy divorce didn't only change the divorce rate; it made drastic changes to the institution of marriage itself. David Brooks makes an argument I find convincing: that the proliferation of the kind of extravagent weddings that used to only be the province of high society (rented venue, extravagent flowers and food, hundreds of guests, a band with dancing, dresses that cost the same as a good used car) is because the event itself doesn't mean nearly as much as it used to, so we have to turn it into a three-ring circus to feel like we're really doing something.

A couple in 1940 (and even more so in 1910) could go to a minister's parlor, or a justice of the peace, and in five minutes totally change their lives. Unless you are a member of certain highly religious subcultures, this is simply no longer true. That is, of course, partly because of the sexual revolution and the emancipation of women; but it is also because you aren't really making a lifetime committment; you're making a lifetime committment unless you find something better to do. There is no way, psychologically, to make the latter as big an event as the former, and when you lost that committment, you lose, on the margin, some willingness to make the marriage work. Again, this doesn't mean I think divorce law should be toughened up; only that changes in law that affect marriage affect the cultural institution, not just the legal practice...

The argument that gay marriage will not change the institution of marriage because you can't imagine it changing your personal reaction is pretty arrogant. It imagines, first of all, that your behavior is a guide for the behavior of everyone else in society, when in fact, as you may have noticed, all sorts of different people react to all sorts of different things in all sorts of different ways, which is why we have to have elections and stuff. And second, the unwavering belief that the only reason that marriage, always and everywhere, is a male-female institution (I exclude rare ritual behaviors), is just some sort of bizarre historical coincidence, and that you know better, needs examining. If you think you know why marriage is male-female, and why that's either outdated because of all the ways in which reproduction has lately changed, or was a bad reason to start with, then you are in a good place to advocate reform. If you think that marriage is just that way because our ancestors were all a bunch of repressed bastards with dark Freudian complexes that made them homophobic bigots, I'm a little leery of letting you muck around with it."

MD_LA
MD_LA

Damon,

1. This article you linked is an "Opinion" blog from someone named "Jane Galt" (dated over 5 years ago). I read the post... it's all opinion—doesn't site a single source reference for any of her “factual” data. Furthermore, who is this "Jane Galt"? Her credentials aren’t’ even listed. Am I just to accept she's some sort of expert, solely based on her educated use of institutional vocabulary?

2. You post this comment—as you claim—to promote dialogue. Yet, the link you supply (and your own comment) has no credentials, no factual data, and no reference sources. Therefore, it is nothing but an emotional comment. In that case, expect people to have an emotional response.

Attaching fancy "industry" terminology and exercising your sophisticated dictionary... doesn’t automatically make your “opinion” fact.

Damon Clark
Damon Clark

So, opinions are not worth considering unless credentials are presented, sources are cited, and references given? Every dialogue requires credentials, data, and references? Really? Okay. Must be tough sitting at the dinner table with you ; )

Google...it works:

Friedberg, Leora. (2005). Did unilateral divorce raise divorce rates? Evidence from panel data. The American Economic Review, 88(3), 608-627.

"The estimation reveals a strong influence of unilateral divorce: divorce rates would have been about 6 percent lower if states had not adopted unilateral divorce, accounting for 17 percent of the overall increase between 1968 and 1988. The current move to tightening divorce requirements can therefore be expected to lower the number of divorces. However, the estimates also demonstrate that other factors in addition to unilateral and no-fault divorce had a great deal to do with the increase in divorces in the United States."

The last statement here is a point that I am not contending.

Gruber, Jonathan. (2004). Is making divorce easier bad for children? The long-run implications of unilateral divorce. Journal of Economics, 22(4), 799-833.

"I confirm that unilateral divorce regulations do significantly increase divorce. Adults who were exposed to unilateral divorce regulations as children are less well educated, have lower family incomes, marry earlier but separate more often, and have higher odds of adult suicide."

"The rise in divorce rates corresponds quite strikingly to the advent of state regulations that allowed for unilateral divorce...These unilateral laws substantially increased the ease of divorce by allowing one partner to leave without obtaining the consent of the other...Exposure to these unilateral divorce regimes rose in tandem with divorce rates over the 1970s."

Of course when someone says, "That's just an opinion. What does that matter? I want to see the data," well, data, facts, and research can be argued as well. I've even provided one in the above quote: "However, the estimates also demonstrate that other factors in addition to unilateral and no-fault divorce had a great deal to do with the increase in divorces in the United States."

From the same article: "Peters [1986] found no role for the switch to unilateral divorce in explaining rising divorce rates, while Allen [1992] found a significant impact."

So, instead of evaluating a different position and considering the possibility that policy changes may affect more than the legal practice, everything that I might suggest will be refuted as opinion, with opposing research, and regarded without merit. What can I say?

However, I agree that factors other than the change in marriage laws impacted divorce rates. I agree that correlation does not equal causation. I agree that Rush is an idiot and focused on whatever promotes his agenda. I agree, but I'm also willing to look at all sides.

What do you make of this comment directed at me: "You're making a popular mistake in assuming..."

Or this one: "You seem to be "imagin[ing] that your [perspective] is a guide for the behavior of everyone else in society . . ."

This one: "What you're afraid of is what happens and has always happened throughout history, namely things changing."

What about this: "And, actually, nobody cares whether marriage changes (except for reactionary cowards who can't stand to see petty changes in culture)."

So an individual is telling me I'm wrong, I'm forcing my beliefs on others, and I'm afraid. (The last quote is in there with regards to your comments on opinions, facts, sources, credentials, and such). Does my writing carry the same tone?An actual discussion might have begun with something like, "I don't think that is a very good opinion and here's why..."

I think you and I have different definitions of what constitutes an emotionally based argument.

"Exercising [my] sophisticated dictionary..." LOL...how I wish I had sophistry and intelligence. It would ease my suffering.

FYI you can click on my name and see what I do.

Thanks,Damon

Bob
Bob

So changing the legal context for divorce made people have more divorces? You're making a popular mistake in assuming that because the second followed the first that the first caused the second. It may be true, but the order doesn't mean it's true. It's also possible that the change in the law and the change in the numbers of divorces were both the result of a changing culture. Limbaugh made a similar argument in one of his early books about sex education. He said sex education was implemented in the late sixties, then teen pregnancy increased drastically in the early seventies; therefore, sex education causes teen pregnancies. He ignored the fact that the sexual revolution, the popularity of partying with drugs that significantly decrease inhibitions, and a general loosening of constraints on nudity and sexual subject matter in pop culture preceded both the widespread implementation of sex education and the rise in teen pregnancies. You seem to be "imagin[ing] that your [perspective] is a guide for the behavior of everyone else in society . . ." And, actually, nobody cares whether marriage changes (except for reactionary cowards who can't stand to see petty changes in culture). Gay marriage advocates welcome a change because they want the recognition that other couples get. What you're afraid of is what happens and has always happened throughout history, namely things changing.

Damon Clark
Damon Clark

Amusing that you are accusatory in professing what my problem is when, in effect, this is your complaint (an attitude that signifies any dialogue is impossible).

I've only quoted text from another individual who I don't believe is suggesting correlation equals causation, but is making an argument that changing laws may impact more than policy. Two other examples are given in the provided link: income tax and welfare. I believe the article I quoted also advocates critical thinking as opposed to making a more emotionally based argument.

Thanks for your response.

MD_LA
MD_LA

Damon,

1. This article you linked is an "Opinion" blog from someone named "Jane Galt" (dated over 5 years ago). I read the post... it's all opinion—doesn't site a single source reference for any of her “factual” data. Furthermore, who is this "Jane Galt"? Her credentials aren’t’ even listed. Am I just to accept she's some sort of expert, solely based on her educated use of institutional vocabulary?

2. You post this comment—as you claim—to promote dialogue. Yet, the link you supply (and your own comment) has no credentials, no factual data, and no reference sources. Therefore, it is nothing but an emotional comment. In that case, expect people to have an emotional response.

Attaching fancy "industry" terminology and exercising your sophisticated dictionary... doesn’t automatically make your “opinion” fact.

Ralphie
Ralphie

Finally. Thank God for separation of church and state.

Howard
Howard

Translation: The federal government will stop defending morality and righteousness, and instead promote perversity and sin. No surprise there. Mindy hits it on the head.

Alexvi
Alexvi

Translation: "Unless you agree with all of *my* morals, you're immoral. And the government should immediately implement "my" morals, as they are the right ones - my book, that I've never actually read, tells me so."

Impressive morals that you're happy to let folks die, or better yet, kill, those who don't agree with you. Christ would be so proud.

Welcome to Sharia, er, Christian law. Can't wait.

Susan
Susan

Can't we keep SOME things sacred and traditional? Why do we have to go and unravel the institution of marriage? It's ALWAYS been between a man and a woman since the beginning of time NOW it's a newsworthy issue????. If God intended for men to marry men and women to marry women, men and women would BOTH have the ability to gestate. I agree with Mindy. It's a financial issue. It has NOTHING to do with equal rights for homosexuals and EVERYTHING to do with who's gonna pay my for my AIDS meds this month. With the new health care reform, honey, it WON'T be MY taxes!!!!

MD_LA
MD_LA

Are you serious, Susan? REALLY?

It has "Nothing" to do with equal rights? Okay, well how about this? I pay my taxes... yet, I cannot marry the person I love. YET... my taxes have to pay for your husband's Viagra. My taxes pay for your hysterectomy. WHY?????

So, same-sex couples should still pay taxes (so that you can collect your husband's social security), but they should not have those same (equal benefits) that you share w/ your spouse. How is that NOT an "equal rights" issue?

Equality 4 All
Equality 4 All

Susan, you really are just another narrow minded idiot. Your taxes have been paying for things you would never approve of since Uncle Sam took your first dime-'they' just don't tell you what those things are. Just worry about the traditions in your own family and keep your nose out business that does not affect your marital state. Gestate?! God's Plan is to breed? Breed so those who do not have children will have to pay taxes for schools. I sincerely hope you did have any children. Society does not need you to pass on your obvious tradition of discrimination to the future generation. Unravel the institution of marriage? Cry me a river. The heterosexual population destroyed marriage a long, long time ago. It's called a divorce! So, yes, it is an equal rights issue and is A VERY newsworthy issue. It's a huge issue that is not going to go away until we put an end to the discrimination. You better be a registered voter and appreciate that you can do so- remember it has not always been that way. Now, get back in the kitchen where you belong unless you're going to tell me that a woman's roll in this world has changed. Good grief, try evolving for once.

drklassen
drklassen

Which "traditional marriage" would you like us to keep? The one where the woman was property of her father given to be the property of her husband? The one where, while not property, the woman had no civil rights, since her rights were subsumed by her husband? The one where you can only marry if you are of the same race? The one where a man may have as many wives as he can support?

As for financial: well, duh! Marriage has ALWAYS and ONLY been a financially driven contract.

Dave
Dave

So how do you explain other countries having marriage without the introduction of any of the Judao/christian faiths? Actually, the idea of a church ceremony for a wedding is only a couple centuries old too, it used to be it didn't even need witnesses, two people could just go out one day and come back telling people they were married, and it was valid.

Linus
Linus

Considering you call yourself Susan, i assume you are femaile. So that raises a question: Do you yote?

Because, Voting has been for Men only pretty mcuh ever since the beginning of time (or democracy). You have only been allowed to vote since 1920.

Can't we keep SOME things sacred and traditional? Geeez!

Makanaima
Makanaima

.. and one more thing. This idea that marriage is all about love is a recent, largely 20th century, invention. Thank Disney the media and marketers.

Makanaima
Makanaima

Since the beginning of time? Actually, marriage has traditionally been more about money than anything else; the issues specifically were inheritance, status and economic and political connections. And as far as being between a man and a woman, it's traditionally, in many places in the world (europe excluded) been between a man and a woman, and a woman and a few more women. Just because you don't want *your* cultural view of marriage disrupted doesn't mean that other people shouldn't be entitled to *their* cultural ideas about marriage.

DonTallahassee
DonTallahassee

The practice of a man and several women actually works well genetically as the better men get to reproduce more.

Dave
Dave

You mean the more powerful (ie the richest) get to reproduce more. This leads to a reduction in genetic variety which is a negative effect on a population, as it can lead large proportions vulnerable to diseases which genetic variety may have given some people protection from.

Survival of the fittest doesn't just mean survival of the strongest. Different circumstances require different strengths, and humanity has always survived because their greatest strength is adaptability. This requires variety

Alexvi
Alexvi

Since the beginning of time? Would that be 13.8 billion years ago, or 6,000 years? Yep, your answer often makes a difference how you feel about gay individuals.

For what it's worth, I'm betting the folks who are happy to take away equal rights from "others" pay *far* less taxes than I do. This isn't about money, it's about equality.

Following that line of reasoning, I guess the "blacks" shouldn't get equal rights either. I mean, all they do is fill up our prisons, right? And our taxes sure pay for that.

As others have stated, your religious views do not give you the right to trample on the rights of others.

Perhaps it's time to eliminate the tax breaks for all the religious organizations. I'm sure tired of my taxes subsidizing all those churches (via tax breaks and loopholes) just so they can meddle in politics. That would solve a lot more budget shortfalls than this silly argument.

Teamlloyd
Teamlloyd

Just so we are on the same page a large percentage of the black male population is in jail but the majority of people filling the country's prisons are white. Without white folks the prisons would be empty and the criminal system would fall apart but the stereotype still always fall on blacks. I know what your saying Alexvi but still . . .

James
James

You are a fucking moron. It's almost impossible to argue with you because everything you said was just plain wrong on every level.

1) Marriage was around long before Christianity2) Homosexuals have healthcare plans just like you do

You are a fool. Seriously.

Klilly20
Klilly20

You people are clueless, gay people already get Medicare or other government subsidized programs!! Leave "God " out of it, I'm sure he never intended for many things to happen, like rape, genocide, etc. But they do, so we HAVE to adapt! SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE!!! If your religious organization doesn't like it fine, but it shouldn't be regulated by the government!

The guest that wouldn't leave
The guest that wouldn't leave

Well, sounds like the feds are beginning to realize they need to keep their nose out of people's lives. I personally believe the government should have ZERO say in what person another person marries...The government should have nothing, zero, zilch, nada to do with marriage...Marriage license? No more.Tax breaks for married couples? No more.

Now, if you are in some church that doesn't want you to marry someone, then fine, that is your church. Other than that, all governments need to stay the F out of our private life.

Pacfco
Pacfco

Well said. I couldn't have said it better myself. A citizen is a citizen in our constitutions eyes. The government should have no no say who any gay or hetero wants to marry. It's pretty amazing to me how people still don't understand what discrimination means. As Americans, we should be defending rights and not trying to deny them. Especially for other Americans.

Ahhonfire
Ahhonfire

And funny thing... a close friend told me something this morning that really got my blood pumping."In some southern states it's legal to marry your sister, your cousin, a 14 year old, even an animal! But does it really mean that you're f***ing with "GOD" if you happen to be someone that in LOVE with someone of the same sex. At least you're the same species."I'm sorry, but it's my own preference and opinion, but...1. Why would you want to marry your sister? Say they want to have children; disformed children. I'm pretty sure nobody would want to put that upon their future child.2. Why would you want to marry your cousin? Same thing.3. 14 year olds? That's just plain wrong. A 14 year old doesn't even have enough such as the responsibilities of paying bills, feeding others, or providing, and even huge "adult" decision making. Why let them marry? They're just getting into their teens. How do they know what love is yet?4. Animals? That's just plain out wrong. What are you trying to do, make a human/animal crossbreed species? It's not gonna happen! That's physically impossible. Humans and Animals have completely 2 different DNA compositions, and that just wouldn't work at all.

So how do they go about judging people who want to love and marry the same sex when they do things like that? Hm. Something to think about...

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