Tuesday, July 19, 2011

President Obama Endorses DOMA Repeal Bill

Even as he was evasive and had his press secretary avoid responding to questions of whether or not he believes in "ex-gay" therapy, Barack Obama surprisingly did the right thing and endorsed the Respect for Marriage Act, the bill that would repeal the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act which improperly enshrines religious based bigotry in the federal law. The bill, introduced by Senators Feinstein (D-Calif.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), would end DOMA in its entirety. That's right. All of DOMA would be repealed including: (i) the definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman, (ii) the section that allows states to disregard same-sex marriages performed in other states, and (iii) the prohibition on the federal government recognizing legally performed same-sex marriages. One can only anticipate the shrieks and flying spittle that will emanate for the Christofascists and professional Christian set who want to use the nation's civil laws to punish anyone who does not conform to their foul version of Christianity. Metro Weekly has coverage on Obama's surprising demonstration that he does on occasion have a backbone (although some cynics surmise that in actuality he's only after LGBT dollars). Here are some highlights:
White House press secretary Jay Carney announced today that President Barack Obama supports the Respect for Marriage Act, a bill to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act that will have its first Senate hearing on July 20. In response to a question from Metro Weekly, Carney said Obama is "proud to support" the bill that "would take DOMA off the books once and for all."
[Press Secretary] Carney: I can tell you that the President has long called for a legislative repeal of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, which continues to have a real impact on the lives of real people -- our families, friends and neighbors. He is proud to support the Respect for Marriage Act, introduced by Sen. Feinstein and Congressman [Jerrold] Nadler [(D-N.Y.)], which would take DOMA off the books once and for all. This legislation would uphold the principle that the federal government should not deny gay and lesbian couples the same rights and legal protections as straight couples.
It is long past time that the Christianist definition of marriage and the deference given to the sensibilities of bigots and hate merchants be stripped from the civil laws. I'm not sure what the chances of the bill's passage in the House of Representatives will be, but at least we have witnessed a beginning of the repeal process.

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