Archives – February, 2011
Cross-posted at Good As You
By Jeremy Hooper
Here’s a novel new meme building in socially conservative circles:
In an exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV Friday, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said President Barack Obama’s decision not to fully enforce the Defense of Marriage law eventually could lead to a constitutional crisis, as he has directly violated his constitutional duties by arbitrarily suspending a law.
Gingrich even suggested that, if a “President Sarah Palin” had taken a similar action, there would have been immediate calls for her impeachment
Gingrich: If Palin Took Obama Actions, There Would Be Calls for Impeachment [Newsmax via the National Organization for Marriage]
Uhm, okay. But here’s the question: What “similar action” would a potential President Palin possibly take? Because what we are talking about here is the increased protection of one of the last shunnable minority populations. This is not some generic case. With dropped DOMA defense, we are talking about something specific: The possibility of increased nondiscrimination for LGB people. Sarah Palin has never given any indication that she would put that concept even close to a table, much less on it.
The far-right crowd is looking at the Obama administration’s new DOMA position in the completely wrong way. The generalized socially conservative response acts like the decision was completely arbitrary, with the specified scenario painted as easily interchangeable with basically any other legal matter that might be presented to a President — a view that is flawed, offensive, and intellectually dishonest! Flawed, because the truth of the matter is that Obama officials have poured over this case and its (lack of merits), determining the exact reasons why this particular piece of legislation, unlike countless others, is patently unconstitutional and therefore undeserving of DOJ defense. Offensive, because Gingrich and company’s choice to strip out the actual human beings attached to the matter completely overlooks the very concrete reason why DOMA (enacted under Gingrich’s time as Speaker) is, was, and forever will be wrongheaded and unfairly enacted. Intellectually dishonest, because rather than help the American public understand a decision that people like NOM and Gingrich have to understand on a factual level (even if they don’t agree with it), the American social conservatives are yet again — YET. AGAIN. — waging a blind attack on “the left™,” the Democratic President, and the “radical agenda®” that’s supposedly attached to any of the brutally-shunned LGBT crowd’s attempts to seize their equal rights and citizenship.
So if a theoretical President Palin did something truly similar to the Obama administration’s DOMA decision? Well no, of course LGBT rights activists wouldn’t call for impeachment (and not only because they’d be dead from shock). But a “similar action” would not mean a refusal to defend something like hate crimes legislation or Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’s repeal (once it’s completed), two choices that would be much more in line with Sarah Palin’s stated positions. Because the choice to either defend or offend a certain minority population is not an equally-footed choice. Merit and principle aren’t disposable considerations.
By Adam Bink
In a welcome bit of news, today the constitutional amendment in Wyoming to ban recognition of same-sex marriages performed elsewhere, which had already passed the State Senate, missed the deadline to move in the House after the Majority Leader refused to spend floor time on it:
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — A proposed amendment to the Wyoming Constitution that would specify the state wouldn’t recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere died Friday when it missed a procedural deadline in the state Legislature.
The Wyoming House adjourned without taking action on a same-sex marriage bill that had already passed the state Senate. Passing the measure would have required a two-thirds vote in both houses.
House Majority Floor Leader Rep. Tom Lubnau, R-Gillette, said he didn’t want to spend hours of floor time debating a bill that didn’t have the votes to pass. The Legislature is set to adjourn next week.
Another bill was still pending that would change Wyoming law to specify that the state would only recognize marriages between one man and one woman. Disagreement remained between the House and Senate over whether the state should allow same-sex couples who entered civil unions elsewhere to have access to the state court system to resolve any issues that arise in their relationships.
Rep. Amy Edmonds said that considering the differences in the House and Senate positions on the bills, she believed its future is “tenuous at best.” The Cheyenne Republican served on a conference committee assigned to work out a compromise position on the pending bill.
Wyoming law specifies marriage can only exist between a man and a woman, but also says the state will recognize valid marriages performed in other states.
Here’s hoping it continues its death remains permanent.
On the flip side of the coin, we still need to make calls in Maryland.