Bob Unruh joined WND in 2006 after nearly three decades with the Associated Press, as well as several Upper Midwest newspapers, where he covered everything from legislative battles and sports to tornadoes and homicidal survivalists. He is also a photographer whose scenic work has been used commercially.More ↓Less ↑
Nearly 100 members of the U.S. House are working in lockstep with the Obama administration to try to eliminate protections for traditional marriage in the United States with the “Respect for Marriage Act” that has just been introduced in Congress.
H.R. 3567 was introduced just days ago by U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., and more than 90 co-sponsors.
“This legislation would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a 1996 law which discriminates against lawfully married same-sex couples,” Nadler said in a statement on his website. The proposal has been assigned to committee.
“The 13-year-old DOMA singles out legally married same-sex couples for discriminatory treatment under federal law, selectively denying them critical federal responsibilities and rights, including programs like social security that are intended to ensure the stability and security of American families,” his statement continued.
“The introduction of the Respect for Marriage Act responds directly to a call from President Obama for congressional action on the issue. As the president recently confirmed: ‘I stand by my long-standing commitment to work with Congress to repeal the so-called Defense of Marriage Act. It’s discriminatory, it interferes with states’ rights, and it’s time we overturned it,’” the statement said.
The Defense of Marriage Act provides that
federal laws must be interpreted in accord with the traditional
definition of marriage as the union of husband and wife.
But Justice Department lawyer Scott Simpson filed a brief Aug. 17 declaring: “With respects to the merits, this Administration does not support DOMA as a matter of policy, believes that it is discriminatory, and supports its repeal.”
In a written statement, Obama declared:
[T]he Department of Justice has filed a response to a legal challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act, as it traditionally does when acts of Congress are challenged. This brief makes clear, however, that my Administration believes that the Act is discriminatory and should be repealed by Congress. I have long held that DOMA prevents LGBT couples from being granted equal rights and benefits. While we work with Congress to repeal DOMA, my Administration will continue to examine and implement measures that will help extend rights and benefits to LGBT couples under existing law.
The Justice Department said it “does not believe that DOMA is rationally related to any legitimate government interests in procreation and child-rearing” and evidence “that children raised by gay and lesbian parents are as likely to be well-adjusted as children raised by heterosexual parents.”
According to an analysis by Alliance Defense Fund, a repeal of the primary federal law that protects marriage opens the door for litigation that would seek to force states to recognize “marriages” between same-sex duos.
“Marriage is not just any two people in a committed relationship. There’s more to a marriage than that. A decisive majority of Americans believe this, and they are tired of being treated with contempt by politicians,” said ADF Senior Counsel Brian Raum.
“Many of those in favor of this bill argue that the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act is not intended to force same-sex ‘marriage’ on all the states. If that is not the intent, its supporters wouldn’t be seeking to repeal the section of DOMA that makes it clear that states have a right to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman,” he continued.
The Defense of Marriage Act defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman for federal purposes. It was passed by Congress and signed by President Bill Clinton in 1996.
According to U.S. Census Bureau statistics, same-sex couples make up less than half of one percent of the total U.S. population. Repeatedly, polls have shown general support in America for the definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman. Gallup in May reported the lowest support for same-sex “marriage” in years, with nearly 60 percent opposed to the status.
The ADF also noted that in the 30 states where voters have been given the choice of defining marriage, 30 times they have defined marriage as being between one man and one woman only.
However, DOMA detractors say their new “Respect” law would embrace “the common law principle that marriages that are valid in the state where they were entered into will be recognized.”
The supporters say marriages in states still would be decided by each state, but the point raises questions among traditional marriage supporters: How would one be “married” under federal law but not “married” under state law in those states where marriage already is constitutionally defined as involving a man and a woman.
Nadler’s announcement about his proposal takes that issue headon. “It would merely restore the approach historically taken by states of determining, under principles of comity and Full Faith and Credit, whether to honor a couple’s marriage for purposes of state law.”
The Full Faith and Credit requirement essentially mandates that states recognize laws of other states.
Nadler said the plan has the support of those “harmed by DOMA,” including the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the National Center for Lesbian Rights and others.
“With a president who is committed to repealing DOMA and a broad, diverse coalition of Americans on our side, we now have a real opportunity to remove from the books this obnoxious and ugly law,” Nadler said.
The proposed law states: “For the purposes of any Federal law in which marital status is a factor, an individual shall be considered married if that individual’s marriage is valid in the State where the marriage was entered into or, in the case of a marriage entered into outside any State, if the marriage is valid in the place where entered into and the marriage could have been entered into in a State.”
Mat Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel, has said if DOMA is gone, the door is open to an all-out assault on states’ rights.
“Then the individual states are sort of sitting ducks,” Staver explained. “What would happen is same-sex marriage would rush over the dam of the various borders of the states, so to speak, like a floodwater rushing over the top of a dam, and flood all the other states.”
Staver told WND’s Greg Corombos he believes the issue will ultimately go before the U.S. Supreme Court, though he claims the court has no constitutional authority to redefine marriage.
“The Supreme Court should not be in the business of redefining or even defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman,” he said. “That transcends the Constitution. It is something that is part of our natural existence. It is something that transcends political parties and geographies and time. The Supreme Court should not be in the business of actually redefining it. If in fact they do redefine to something other than what it is, it clearly shows we have an activist court. I think we need to make sure we have justices on the bench that understand the role as an umpire, not activist legislators.”
As WND reported earlier, the White House after the election scrubbed President Obama’s central pledge to the homosexual community to repeal DOMA from its website.
The president unveiled his pro-homosexual agenda on the White House website on Inauguration Day. Under the “Civil Rights” section, he called for the repeal of the act signed by President Bill Clinton in 1996 after an overwhelming
bipartisan vote in Congress (342-67 and 85-14).
The following is the original language posted on the White House website as Obama took office:
Oppose a Constitutional Ban on Same-Sex Marriage: President Obama voted against the Federal Marriage Amendment in 2006 which would have defined marriage as between a man and a woman and prevented judicial extension of marriage-like rights to same-sex or other unmarried couples.
Support Full Civil Unions and Federal Rights for LGBT Couples: President Obama supports full civil unions that give same-sex couples legal rights and privileges equal to those of married couples. Obama also believes we need to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and enact legislation that would ensure that the 1,100+ federal legal rights and benefits currently provided on the basis of marital status are extended to same-sex couples in civil unions and other legally-recognized unions. These rights and benefits include the right to assist a loved one in times of emergency, the right to equal health insurance and other employment benefits, and property rights. (emphasis added)
President Obama also continues to support the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and believes that our anti-discrimination employment laws should be expanded to include sexual orientation and gender identity. He supports full civil unions and federal rights for LGBT couples and opposes a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. … (emphasis added)
Unlike Senator Clinton, I support the complete repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) – a position I have held since before arriving in the U.S. Senate. While some say we should repeal only part of the law, I believe we should get rid of that statute altogether. Federal law should not discriminate in any way against gay and lesbian couples, which is precisely what DOMA does.