Saturday, February 07, 2015

New College Freshman Poll: 81.5% Support Gay Marriage; 27.5% Claim No Religious Affiliation

A new American Freshman Survey,  in which UCLA researchers polled over 150,000 incoming freshmen at 227 colleges and universities has good news or bad news depending upon one's perspective.  If you support equality and the removal of religion from public policy, the survey results are welcome news.  For the Christofascists and their political whore in the Republican Party, the findings ought to be setting off alarm bells .that their agenda is looking more and more like the Titanic at 11:36PM on the night of April 14, 1912.  The survey found that 27.5% of incoming freshmen (1st years at UVA) claimed no religious affiliation whatsoever.  Meanwhile, 81% support same sex marriage.  Here are some survey findings:

The CIRP Freshman Survey has consistently asked students to identify their religious preference since 1971, and more students than ever are selecting “none.” Figure 4 shows that, in 2014, more than one-quarter of incoming freshmen (27.5%) selected “none,” a one-year increase of 2.9 percentage points from 2013, and an increase of over 12 percentage points from the 1971 value (15.4%). . . . These numbers correspond with a recent Pew Research Center survey that found that 29% of Millennials are unaffiliated with any religion, which compares to 21% of Generation Xers, 16% of Baby Boomers, and 9% of the “Silent” Generation (Pew, 2014).
On gay marriage, the figures are even more devastating for the Christofascists/GOP:

The survey last asked about same-sex marriage in 2012. In the interim, support for same-sex couples having the legal right to marry has increased 6.5 percentage points to 81.5%. This increase covers a span of time where the U.S. Supreme Court struck down part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act and California’s state ban on same-sex marriage. Additionally, since these Supreme Court decisions, state-level same-sex marriage bans have fallen across the country in U.S. Circuit and District courts; as of January 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to take up four pending cases from the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. Figure 10 breaks support for same-sex marriage down by political ideology. The findings show that only students who identify as “far right” do not support same-sex marriage. Just 44.3% of students identified as “far right” either “agreed somewhat” or “agreed strongly” that same-sex couples should have the legal right to marry. This figure contrasts with 56.6% of “conservative” students, 84.7% of “middle-of-the-road” students, 93.9% of “liberal” students, and 90.5% of “far left” students. It is clear that same-sex marriage is no longer an issue for the vast majority of entering college freshmen.

Historically Illiterate Response to Obama's Prayer Breakfast Speech

As the right wing noise machine and Christofascists who would like to impose their own version of Sharia law on all Americans continue to hyperventilate and engage in spittle flecked rants over Barack Obama's accurate description of religion's evil force throughout history, thankfully some media outlets are documenting the evil of religion and supporting Obama's words with historical fact.  Those literate in history are less likely to fall prey to Christianist propaganda which is precisely why Christianist efforts to rewrite history in school text books must be strenuously opposed.  One should also be mindful that ancient Rome was tolerant of numerous religions - it was the Christians who sought to wipe out all differing religious beliefs and traditions.  And the Christians began this process long before the Koran and Islam appeared.  A piece in The Atlantic looks at some true history of what has been done in the name of religion right here in America that the "godly folk" would prefer the public not know or remember.  Here are excerpts:
People who wonder why the president does not talk more about race would do well to examine the recent blow-up over his speech at the National Prayer Breakfast. Inveighing against the barbarism of ISIS, the president pointed out that it would be foolish to blame Islam, at large, for its atrocities. To make this point he noted that using religion to brutalize other people is neither a Muslim invention nor, in America, a foreign one:
Lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ. In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.
The "all too often" could just as well be "almost always." There were a fair number of pretexts given for slavery and Jim Crow, but Christianity provided the moral justification. On the cusp of plunging his country into a war that would cost some 750,000 lives, Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens paused to offer some explanation. His justification was not secular. The Confederacy was to be:
[T]he first government ever instituted upon the principles in strict conformity to nature, and the ordination of Providence, in furnishing the materials of human society ... With us, all of the white race, however high or low, rich or poor, are equal in the eye of the law. Not so with the negro. Subordination is his place. He, by nature, or by the curse against Canaan, is fitted for that condition which he occupies in our system. . . .
Stephens went on to argue that the "Christianization of the barbarous tribes of Africa" could only be accomplished through enslavement. And enslavement was not made possible through Robert's Rules of Order, but through a 250-year reign of mass torture, industrialized murder, and normalized rape—tactics which ISIS would find familiar. Its moral justification was not "because I said so," it was "Providence," "the curse against Canaan," "the Creator," "and Christianization." In just five years, 750,000 Americans died because of this peculiar mission of "Christianization." Many more died before, and many more died after. In his "Segregation Now" speech, George Wallace invokes God 27 times and calls the federal government opposing him "a system that is the very opposite of Christ."

The interest in power is almost always accompanied by the need to sanctify that power. That is what the Muslims terrorists in ISIS are seeking to do today, and that is what Christian enslavers and Christian terrorists did for the lion's share of American history.

Pointing out that Americans have done, on their own soil, in the name of their own God, something similar to what ISIS is doing now does not make ISIS any less barbaric, or any more correct. That is unless you view the entire discussion as a kind of religious one-upmanship, in which the goal is to prove that Christianity is "the awesomest."

If you are truly appalled by the brutality of ISIS, then a wise and essential step is understanding the lure of brutality, and recalling how easily your own society can be, and how often it has been, pulled over the brink.

As I noted in a post last October about religion's ugly history beyond America's borders throughout history:
Throughout history religion has unleashed untold hate, misery and bloodshed.   Yes, some religious groups engage in charitable works, but even then many engage in proselytizing at the same time.  It's always about winning others over to their belief systems and often punishing those who don't yield - e.g., the Salvation Army's anti-gay policies and past rejection of gays needing shelter.  Meanwhile, we see ISIS demonstrating just how evil fundamentalist religion can be even as anti-Muslim Christians forget Christianity's own ugly past that has included the Inquisition, the extermination of the Cathars in France and many other acts of genocide against those deemed to hold heretical beliefs.  Yet despite this horrible track record we still see apologist defending religion . . .
For those unfamiliar with the Cathars, here how the Catholic Church dealth with them: between 15,000 and 20,000 were slaughters in the French city of B├ęziers alone and 140 burned at the stake in city of Minerve; and here's a contemporary account of a massacre carried out  in 1219 at Marmonde, a town of some 7000 people:
terror and massacre began. Noblemen, ladies and their little children, men and women stripped naked, all were slashed and cut to ribbons by keen edged swords. Flesh, blood, brains, torsos, limbs and faces hacked in two; lungs, livers and guts torn out and thrown away - laying on the open ground as if they had rained down from the heavens. Marshland and firm ground, all was red with blood. Not a man or woman was left alive, neither young nor old, no living creature, except perhaps some well-hidden infant. Marmond was razed and set alight…
To this death toll - which some estimated totaled 500,000 in France - one must add the "old believers" in Russia, and those across the Mediterranean region who were labeled heretics.  A lengthy compilation of the atrocities can be viewed here.  This is a sample of the fate these individuals suffered in the name of God:
Anyone in Villaro who declined to go to a Roman Catholic mass was liable to be crucified upside down, but there was some variation in the manner of killing in other towns. Some were maimed and left to die of starvation, some had strips of flesh cut off their bodies until they bled to death, some were stoned, some impaled alive upon stakes or hooks. Some were dragged along the ground until there flesh was scraped away. One at least was literally minced. Daniel Rambaut had his toes and fingers cut off in sections: one joint being amputated each day in an attempt to make him recant and accept the Roman faith. Some had their mouths stuffed with gun-powder which was then ignited. Paolo Garnier of Roras was castrated, then skinned alive. Children were killed in various ways before the eyes of their parents. Those few who escaped to the mountains were mostly killed by exposure, starvation or disease.
 ISIS and Islam have nothing on Christianity!

Saturday Morning Male Beauty

West Virginia Republican says Rape can be "Beautiful"

GOP's Brian Kurcaba

I never cease to be amazed by the batshitery that comes from the mouths of today's Republicans.  It's little wonder that so many of us Republicans of yesteryear have fled the GOP as it has become one big insane asylum.  The key ingredient to the party's descent into insanity?  The rise of the Christofascists within the party.  What began as a slow grow cancer has now metastasized.  How else to explain the statement by West Virginia Republican Delegate Brian Kurcaba who says rape is "beautiful" when it results in a child.  Perhaps in the crazy world view of the likes of Tony Perkins, Pat Robertson, Victoria Cobb, and Tim Wildmon, but not for those of us who live in touch with objective reality.  The Raw Story looks at this batshitery which increasingly is the norm for Republicans who see women as some sort of chattel property of men:
Republican state lawmaker in West Virginia said on Thursday that while rape is horrible, it’s “beautiful” that a child could be produced in the attack.

According to Huffington Post, Charleston Gazette reporter David Gutman was on the scene when Delegate Brian Kurcaba (R) said, “Obviously rape is awful,” but “What is beautiful is the child that could come from this.”

Kurcaba made the remarks during a House of Delegates discussion of a law outlawing all abortions in the state after 20 weeks’ gestation. At 20 weeks, anti-choice activists and lawmakers allege, a fetus can feel pain and is therefore too viable to abort.

The bill was passed by West Virginia Republicans in 2014, but vetoed by Democratic Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin. Now the state GOP has revived the bill and voted to remove an exception for victims of rape and incest.

Kurcaba’s remarks echo a string of embarrassing statements by Republicans regarding rape and women’s bodies. 

In 2012, Missouri’s Rep. Todd Akin said that pregnancy can’t result from rape because “If it’s legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut the whole thing down.”

Indiana Senate candidate Richard Mourdock said that while sexual assaults are unfortunate, the resulting pregnancy is a “gift from God.”

Republican leaders convened an emergency meeting in 2013 urging the rank and file to stop talking about rape altogether lest it further alienate women voters, who have been abandoning the Republican Party in droves.

Nonetheless, Kurcaba — a financial advisor who was elected in 2014 — appears eager to bring discussions of rape back into the dialogue about women’s access to reproductive health care.
Here in Virginia, Republicans are seeking to pass a similar law with no exception for instances of rape. 

Presumed Closet Case, GOP's Aaron Schock Draws More Ethics Questions

Michelle Bachmann's lisping, limp wrist husband "Marcia" Bachmann represents one type of closeted gay.  GOP Congressman Aaron Schock represents the gym rat, style conscious type who wants to always be the center of attention.   Now, with his "Downton Abbey" office makeover gift and a questionable real estate transaction that sounds like something Bob and Maureen McDonnell might have engaged in, Schiock is getting more attention than he wanted.  The New York Times looks at his growing problems, including his now former aid who compared blacks to escaped zoo animals.  Here are highlights:
WASHINGTON — Aaron Schock was 27 years old, a fresh-faced and ambitious Republican from Peoria, Ill., when he joined Congress in January 2009. Today, Representative Schock has earned a reputation — not for legislating, but for his ripped ab muscles, shirtless poses, racy Instagram account and, now, a Capitol Hill office decorated like a drawing room from “Downton Abbey.”

But Mr. Schock’s troubles may go deeper than the blood-red color of his freshly painted office walls.
The congressman confessed Friday that he has “had better weeks.” Monday brought mocking revelations in the Style section of The Washington Post that a firm named Euro Trash had donated the office makeover — complete with a crystal chandelier, gilded mirrors and a spray of pheasant feathers. A government watchdog group promptly demanded an ethics inquiry. The congressman, now 33, said he would pay for the work.

On Thursday, Mr. Schock’s communications director, Benjamin Cole — at 38, the resident grown-up in the office — was forced to quit over racially charged Facebook posts comparing black people to escaped zoo animals engaging in “mating rituals.” 

By Friday, Mr. Schock was denying accusations that he had sold his home in 2012 to a political donor for more than its market value.

This is not the first time Mr. Schock has drawn unwanted attention. In May 2012, an independent congressional ethics board found “substantial reason to believe” Mr. Schock violated federal law in soliciting a $25,000 donation to a political action committee. The House Ethics Committee investigated but took no formal action.

The questions about Mr. Schock’s real estate transaction, first raised by the liberal-leaning website Blue Nation Review, involve the 2012 sale of his home in Dunlap, Ill., to a company linked to a contributor, Gloria L. Bahaj, whose husband, Ali, is a former executive at Peoria-based Caterpillar, the construction equipment giant.

According to Peoria County Assessor records, Mr. Schock sold the property for $925,000; the real-estate website Zillow estimated at the time of the sale that the property was worth $819,000. Mr. Schock told reporters in Peoria on Friday that he had built the home on speculation before coming to Congress, that the transaction was handled by a real estate agent, that he had never spoken to the buyer and that the sale price was “right in line” with comparable homes in the neighborhood.

Since 2008, campaign finance records show, Ali and Gloria Bahaj and Caterpillar have donated a combined total of at least $191,035 to Mr. Schock and his political action committee, the GOP Generation Y Fund.

Schock's new office look

Friday, February 06, 2015

Friday Morning Male Beauty

American Sniper - War Porn and False History

While the film "American Sniper" continues to rake in money and tell a false version of the Iraq War - one might think Dick Cheney himself wrote the script - thankfully many are coming forward to condemn the film and the lies it promotes.  Sadly, too few of those who see the "war porn" film will hear the real truth of the horrors done by America and individuals like the late Chris Kyle.  In many ways, Kyle was just as immoral as the ISIS extremists who seem unable to see the common humanity of others.  A piece in Salon has the thoughts of another American sniper who condemns the film in no uncertain terms.  Here are excepts:
Hearing Garett Reppenhagen describe how he felt the first time he shot someone is like listening to an addict talk about his first time injecting heroin. “I leveled my M-4, put him in my iron sights, and took three shots. One of them hit him center mass and he went down in the middle of the road. I had this instant sense of satisfaction, overwhelming excitement and pride. It was really kind of an ecstatic feeling that I had.”

I had just seen the film “American Sniper,” the revisionist propaganda piece of myth-making and nationalistic war porn being sold to us by Bradley Cooper, Clint Eastwood and screenwriter Jason Hall as an apolitical character study. I wanted to talk with an actual American sniper, and Garett was generous enough to pick up the phone. (He’s also written for Salon.)

Garett has a lot in common with Chris Kyle. Both entered the military at an older age; both spent endless hours on rooftops, in windows or in trash piles in Iraq, “doing their job”; both were in Iraq in 2004 hunting al-Qaida leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi; and both spent time after active duty trying to help veterans.  The similarities end there.

[O]ur invasion and occupation of Iraq was not a “kill them or they will kill us” scenario. History has borne that fact out, and that lack of context makes “American Sniper” a dangerous film.

Dangerous because kids will sign up for the military because of this movie. Dangerous because our leaders have plans for those kids. Some will kill. Some will be killed. Or worse. There is no narrative existing outside the strict confines of “American Sniper’s” iron sights that allows for the war on terror to be over. It’s like a broken record looping over and over: attack, blowback and attack. Repeat.

Garett wonders about the mothers of those we killed in Iraq. What aspirations were dashed when an occupying force killed their children, for whom they invested so much of their lives?

He did not keep track of his kills and he hates that I ask him for a number. “I wasn’t keeping track and oftentimes there was no confirmation. I feel it didn’t make me a better soldier and certainly doesn’t make me more of a man.

Garett came home and began speaking out. He still does, in fact.  “I do antiwar talks in high schools and colleges. I stopped telling war stories at these events because no matter how bad and awful it sounds, you can still see the look in kids’ eyes that say, ‘That is the rite of passage, that is how I become a man. I have to go there and live through that horrible shit to know that I am an adult.’”

A lot of people were fighting us because they did not want to be occupied or because they had family members who were hurt or killed and they wanted to get some sort of vengeance. By the end of my tour, it was really hard to justify killing them. We should not have been there in the first place.”

My recovery hinged on the fact that I felt guilt and shame over committing atrocities against an occupied country. We went over there and brutalized and oppressed, and that is part of my psychological and moral injuries. If I can’t talk about it at the VA, then the VA can’t help me.”

Garett’s views are “political,” but the worldview of Chris Kyle as brought to life in “American Sniper” is not. It may be true that it is good for box office for the creators of “American Sniper” to pretend that their movie is not a political one, but if Cooper and Eastwood actually believe that, any narrative not draped in yellow ribbons and billowing red, white and blue flags cannot penetrate the cloak of white imperial privilege they have pulled over their heads.

We are living through a moment in time where a perverse experiment has gone wrong and led to the creation of an out-of-control monster. In this case, the monster itself is the blowback-inducing, homicidal bull in cultural, religious and geopolitical china shops that has been U.S. foreign policy for at least the past 75 years. That concept, personified, is the myth of Chris Kyle that is breaking box office records and marching toward the Oscars with all of the pomp, precision and sense of a rightful place at the head of the line displayed by the Marine Corps Marching Band at the Rose Bowl Parade.

In addition to the outright lies (weapons of mass destruction, a connection between Iraq and 9/11, etc.), the main ingredient of this nightmare is the belief in American exceptionalism: the wind beneath the wings of the 19th century concept of Manifest Destiny. The offspring of that concept, we can call it Manifest Destiny’s child, is a privileged, spoiled, brutal bully on the world stage.

That Chris Kyle, nurtured as he was by the insidious worldview of Manifest Destiny’s child, turned out the way he did makes him common.

Right Wing Freaks Out Over Obama's Prayer Breakfast Remarks

Hate merchant Bill Donohue

Personally, I find it obscene and offensive that presidents and members of Congress continue to attend the so-called National Prayer Breakfast which is sponsored each year by Christofascist extremists.  The organizers' goal is to turn the U.S. Constitution upside down and make their perverted form of Christianity the de facto national religion.  That said, it has been fun to watch the flying sheets of spittle after Obama rightly remarked that it was necessary to overcome the horrors and perversions that religion has all too often been used to justify.  Anyone with an accurate knowledge of history knows that Christianity has much blood on its hands.  And for a compilation of some of the murders conducted in the name of Christianity done by burning victims, check out Bob Felton's post here.  It makes ISIS' burning of a Jordanian pilot look tame.  Crooks and Liars looks at the right wing melt down over Obama's simple statements of fact.  Here are highlights:
President Obama spoke at the National Prayer Breakfast, where he discussed freedom of expression along with highlighting the many acts of barbarism that are happening now and have happened throughout the centuries which were justified under the guise of religion. He also explained in depth about how as Christians, we can overcome these perversions of religion. President Obama spoke for about thirty minutes and used almost three thousand words today, but the only part of the speech the right wing media is focusing on is when he brought up the Crusades.
Humanity has been grappling with these questions throughout human history. And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ. In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ. Michelle and I returned from India -- an incredible, beautiful country, full of magnificent diversity -- but a place where, in past years, religious faiths of all types have, on occasion, been targeted by other peoples of faith, simply due to their heritage and their beliefs -- acts of intolerance that would have shocked Gandhiji, the person who helped to liberate that nation.
How dare the president put into context the historical atrocities performed over centuries in the name of God! As usual the Catholic League's Bill Donohue took front and center stage on Fox News and was fuming because Obama dared to mention Christ and demanded that he apologize. Neil Cavuto actually defended Obama for the most part which kind of surprised me, but Donohue, the pedophile priest apologist didn't. 

What Donohue is actually demanding is to be the president's speech writer/approval monitor. Bill has no problem with the speech except when Obama mentions acts of brutality perpetrated by Christians and Catholics. He immediately tries to rewrite history and said that the atrocities happening name in the name of Islam far outweigh anything that happened in the history of the world.

More of Obama's speech, which appears to make Donohue's whining completely unfounded.
But we also see faith being twisted and distorted, used as a wedge -- or, worse, sometimes used as a weapon. From a school in Pakistan to the streets of Paris, we have seen violence and terror perpetrated by those who profess to stand up for faith, their faith, professed to stand up for Islam, but, in fact, are betraying it. We see ISIL, a brutal, vicious death cult that, in the name of religion, carries out unspeakable acts of barbarism -- terrorizing religious minorities like the Yezidis, subjecting women to rape as a weapon of war, and claiming the mantle of religious authority for such actions.
The real truth is that a world free of religion would likely be a kinder, less violent place where much suffering inflicted by the "godly" and "pious" would no longer occur. 

Congressional Republicans - The Gang That Cannot Govern

Remember how Congressional Republicans boasted in the wake of the 2014 midterm elections tat they would show the nation how they could competently govern?  Like so much in today's GOP, that claim is proving to have been a fantasy in the minds of the seemingly lobotomized Republican circles.   Other than voting yet again to repeal "Obamacare" in the House, not much has been accomplished.  The GOP has tripped up on its own extreme abortion bill after even some Republicans concluded it was "too extreme."  Now, as a second act, the Congressional Republicans are about to defund Homeland Security as "conservatives" - think racists - want to hold back funding to stop Barack Obama's immigration executive order.  Leaving the country open to terror attacks is less important than keeping more Hispanics from remaining in the country.  A column in the Washington Post looks at the lunacy.  Here are excerpts:

Bang. Bang. Crash. That was the sound of the Republican majority in Congress shooting itself in both feet, then tripping over them.

At a moment of heightened concern that terrorists in the Middle East might stage or inspire attacks on U.S. soil, the GOP-controlled House and Senate are unable to agree on a bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security. If the party’s aim is to show Americans it is ready to govern, we are witnessing an epic fail.

Rather than ensure the smooth operation of the agency charged with keeping the nation safe, Republicans would rather argue about a separate issue — immigration — and struggle over tactics for tilting at windmills. Meanwhile, a Feb. 27 deadline for passing an appropriations bill draws near. “I don’t believe we should shut down the Department of Homeland Security, given the threats that are obviously out there and the attacks on America,” Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Wednesday. But too few in his party are listening.

Republican conservatives want to use the Homeland Security funding bill to reverse President Obama’s executive actions allowing millions of undocumented immigrants to stay without fear of deportation. A measure stripping out money to fund Obama’s initiatives easily passed the House, with its massive GOP majority and streamlined procedural rules. But the Senate is a different story. 

It was obvious from the beginning that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) did not have the 60 votes needed to get the bill through the Senate. Nevertheless, McConnell has dutifully brought the bill up three times. . . .

“Isn’t that the definition of insanity? Voting for the same bill over and over again?” McCain asked. 

Indeed, the whole episode does seem pretty insane. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) knew the bill he sent to the Senate would be dead on arrival. McConnell knew he didn’t have the votes to pass it.

Boehner and McConnell appear to be trying to teach House Republicans a lesson in basic arithmetic. The class, however, is busy throwing spitballs. 

The GOP majority in the House continues to value symbolic posturing over pragmatic action. 

Let’s see, what else have Republicans achieved since taking control of both chambers? Well, the House tried to pass a bill banning abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy but had to pull the legislation at the last minute over a requirement that rape victims report their assault to police before qualifying for an exemption. Republicans did manage to pass a bill authorizing the building of the Keystone XL pipeline, but Obama promises a veto and the GOP doesn’t have the votes to override him.

If this is the pattern, it’s going to be a long couple of years.

Thursday, February 05, 2015

More Thursday Male Beauty

Boehner Expects House GOP to Accept SCOTUS Gay Marriage Ruling

I cannot say that I feel any sympathy for John Boehner.  The man is, in my opinion, a douche bag (and that's being kind).  That said, Boehner today stated that, if the U.S. Supreme Court, issues a ruling confirming gay marriage nationwide, he believes the House GOP will accept the ruling.   Part of Boehner's statement is based on the reality that there really would be little or nothing that the House GOP could do other than take symbolic votes to pass a proposed anti-gay amendment to the U.S. Constitution which would never see passage.  Nonetheless, I can already hear the howls and imagine the spittle flying in the office of hate groups like FRC, The Family Foundation here in Virginia, and the lunatic Traditional Values Coalition.  The New York Times looks at Boehner's apparent capitulation.  Here are excerpts:
Speaker John A. Boehner said on Thursday that he expected House Republicans to accept the decision on same-sex marriage that the Supreme Court is scheduled to issue later this year. 

“I don’t expect that we’re going to weigh in on this,” Mr. Boehner said. “The court will make its decision, and that’s why they’re there, to be the highest court in the land.” 

The statement comes as a bit of a surprise, given the House Republicans’ expensive defense of the Defense of Marriage Act in 2013.

After the Supreme Court deemed parts of the act unconstitutional in 2013, some House Republicans sought to draft an amendment to go around the Supreme Court’s ruling. 
 The Washington Blade further noted in part:

Evan Wolfson, president of the LGBT group Freedom to Marry, said House Republicans made a “commendable decision” not to participate in the marriage cases this time around and called it “a real step forward” after defending DOMA in court.

“Their evolution reflects the momentum for the freedom to marry nationwide, as well as the quiet hope of most Republican officials and operatives that the Supreme Court will rule in our favor and bring the country to national resolution, thereby rescuing them from their prior stance against the freedom to marry,” Wolfson said. “They know their past pandering to part of their base is way out of step not only with a majority of the American people and independents, but with Republicans under 50 and even with young Evangelicals.”

Outgoing U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has already said the Obama administration will file a brief in the case arguing on behalf of marriage rights “for all Americans.”