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Senator Feinstein and Rep. Jerrold Nadler are introducing a bill to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. Since the Department of Justice will no longer be defending the Act in court, Speaker Boehner will formally ask Congressional lawyers to defend it. The less costly and more practical solution would likely be for both houses to go ahead and repeal it, but in our political climate I don't see that happening.

Logically, though, the Defense of Marriage Act just doesn't make sense under the existing legal, legislative and moral landscape in this country. In Romer v. Evans, the Supreme Court overturned a sweeping antigay amendment in Colorado, banning antidiscrimination protections for gays, largely based on the idea that "a bare desire to harm" a politically unpopular group (i.e., gays) does not even qualify as a rational basis for a law. DOMA was enacted the same year as this decision, incidentally.

I've perused the Congressional record and several statements on the rationale for the Defense of Marriage Act and a lot of these comments are revealing.

First, I'll start with President Clinton's statement upon signing the bill:

Throughout my life I have strenuously opposed discrimination of any kind, including discrimination against gay and lesbian Americans. I am signing into law H.R. 3396, a bill relating to same-gender marriage, but it is important to note what this legislation does and does not do.

I have long opposed governmental recognition of same-gender marriages and this legislation is consistent with that position. The Act confirms the right of each state to determine its own policy with respect to same gender marriage and clarifies for purposes of federal law the operative meaning of the terms "marriage" and "spouse".

This legislation does not reach beyond those two provisions. It has no effect on any current federal, state or local anti-discrimination law and does not constrain the right of Congress or any state or locality to enact anti-discrimination laws. I therefore would take this opportunity to urge Congress to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, an act which would extend employment discrimination protections to gays and lesbians in the workplace. This year the Senate considered this legislation contemporaneously with the Act I sign today and failed to pass it by a single vote. I hope that in its next Session Congress will pass it expeditiously.

I also want to make clear to all that the enactment of this legislation should not, despite the fierce and at times divisive rhetoric surrounding it, be understood to provide an excuse for discrimination, violence or intimidation against any person on the basis of sexual orientation. Discrimination, violence and intimidation for that reason, as well as others, violate the principle of equal protection under the law and have no place in American society.

It appears that the very reason he signed the law was based on personal opposition to marriage for gay couples, and his belief that the federal government should endorse opposite-sex marriage as the only legal kind of union. The law doesn't regulate what states decide to classify as a marriage, it only tells states and their citizens that the federal government will not call their same sex marriages what they are - legitimate marriages.

When the president of the United States signs a law based on his personal distaste for gay people, and a law that is not even designed to stop gay marriages, only to express a bigoted position of the federal government - and one that is now opposed by at least five states and Washington DC - and to deny federal benefits to American citizens based on their homosexuality, it becomes increasingly difficult to find a defense for the law.

Remember that the Obama DOJ stopped using the Congressional Record in court proceedings in the law's defense:

“While the government has rightly abandoned the reasons Congress relied on in passing DOMA in 1996, it now seeks to dismiss our case by arguing that DOMA “maintains the status quo,”” says Mary L. Bonauto, GLAD Civil Rights Project Director.  “The reality is that DOMA itself radically changed the status quo by which the federal government recognized and accepted state determinations of who is married. There is no valid excuse for the federal discrimination imposed by DOMA and this can be resolved now and without a trial."

This is because not only is the Congressional Record on this law completely offensive, but it describes in stark detail why the law is unconstitutional. First, they say outright that Congress just opposes the idea of same-sex marriage and thus the goal of DOMA is to codify opposition same sex marriage (in lieu of some valid, rational argument):

Of course, the foregoing discussion would hardly support--much less necessitate--congressional action if the Committee were supportive of (or even indifferent to) the notion of same-sex `marriage.' But the Committee does not believe that passivity is an appropriate or responsible reaction to the orchestrated legal campaign by homosexual groups to redefine the institution of marriage through the judicial process. H.R. 3396 is a modest effort to combat that strategy.

Get it? If Congress were indifferent to same-sex marriage, the discussion of the proposed law wouldn't need to happen. They were just worried about an "orchestrated" campaign by "homosexual groups to redefine... marriage." Right off, they admit that they passed this law because they're not just indifferent, they're actively opposed to homosexuality.

I don't see how that's permissible. It doesn't seem right even in 1996, but especially not now with states dropping their government restrictions on gays' marriage rights.

In fact, Congress went further than that, and said that DOMA was meant to promote heterosexuality:

[Footnote 53: Closely related to this interest in protecting traditional marriage is a corresponding interest in promoting heterosexuality. While there is controversy concerning how sexual `orientation' is determined, `there is good reason to think that a very substantial number of people are born with the potential to live either gay or straight lives.' E.L. Pattullo, `Straight Talk About Gays,' Commentary 21 (December 1992). `[R]eason suggest[s] that we guard against doing anything which might mislead wavering children into perceiving society as indifferent to the sexual orientation they develop.' Id. at 22; see also Bennett, The Washington Post A19 (May 21, 1996) (`Societal indifference about heterosexuality and homosexuality would cause a lot of confusion.'); Deneen L. Brown, `Teens Ponder: Gay, Bi, Straight? Social Climate Fosters Openness, Experimentation,' The Washington Post A1 (July 15, 1993) (recounting interviews with dozens of teenagers, school counselors, and parents regarding increased `sexual identity confusion' apparently reflecting increasing social acceptance of homosexuality). Maintaining a preferred societal status of heterosexual marriage thus will also serve to encourage heterosexuality, for as Dr. Pattullo notes, `to the extent that society has an interest both in reproducing itself and in strengthening the institution of the family . . . there is warrant for resisting the movement to abolish all societal distinctions between homosexual and heterosexual.' Pattullo, Commentary at 23.]

They enacted DOMA specifically to confer a higher status on heterosexual people, so that more children would grow up to realize they should be heterosexual. This has of course led to higher incidents of suicide and depression among gay people, and outright rejection in some cases even by a gay person's friends or family, all to reach the ends of "promoting heterosexuality."

This is one of the biggest reasons it's time to repeal DOMA: sexual orientation is understood as a real distinction by law and by psychologists. Back when, for example, the military's gay ban was implemented, the idea was to stop a perceived aberrant sexual behavior. Society and science's views on homosexuality have changed - it's no longer a behavior but an orientation. It can't be changed and so-called "conversion therapy" has been rejected by scientists and psychologists. It made no sense to keep the gay ban going.

And it makes no sense to keep DOMA. Simply put, the goal of promoting heterosexuality is not served by laws like DADT or DOMA. The government can't promote heterosexuality even if it wanted to. At this point, it's only creating a second-class status for a group of people it can't change.

This view that the government can't intrude on the freedoms of Americans in order to make them second-class citizens is becoming accepted even in the conservative Supreme Court. When they overruled bans on sodomy in Lawrence v. Texas, the Court said:

The Court began its substantive discussion in Bowers  as follows: “The issue presented is whether the Federal Constitution confers a fundamental right upon homosexuals to engage in sodomy and hence invalidates the laws of the many States that still make such conduct illegal and have done so for a very long time.” Id., at 190. That statement, we now conclude, discloses the Court’s own failure to appreciate the extent of the liberty at stake. To say that the issue in Bowers was simply the right to engage in certain sexual conduct demeans the claim the individual put forward, just as it would demean a married couple were it to be said marriage is simply about the right to have sexual intercourse. The laws involved in Bowers and here are, to be sure, statutes that purport to do no more than prohibit a particular sexual act. Their penalties and purposes, though, have more far-reaching consequences, touching upon the most private human conduct, sexual behavior, and in the most private of places, the home. The statutes do seek to control a personal relationship that, whether or not entitled to formal recognition in the law, is within the liberty of persons to choose without being punished as criminals.

This, as a general rule, should counsel against attempts by the State, or a court, to define the meaning of the relationship or to set its boundaries absent injury to a person or abuse of an institution the law protects. It suffices for us to acknowledge that adults may choose to enter upon this relationship in the confines of their homes and their own private lives and still retain their dignity as free persons. When sexuality finds overt expression in intimate conduct with another person, the conduct can be but one element in a personal bond that is more enduring. The liberty protected by the Constitution allows homosexual persons the right to make this choice.

The sodomy bans didn't just try to prevent so-called "deviant" sexual acts, they actually infringed on a person's liberty to make their own decisions and to be in the relationships they choose for themselves. This was because there are gay people, not straight people who engage in deviant behavior. Gays are a class.

Last year, the Supreme Court said as much:

Our decisions have declined to distinguish between status and conduct in this context.

Obviously it doesn't make any sense to try to promote one class over another class.

Congress also decided that if gays can marry it will "demean" marriage:

[Footnote] and a moral conviction that heterosexuality better comports with traditional (especially Judeo-Christian) morality. As Representative Henry Hyde, the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, stated during the Subcommittee markup of H.R. 3396: `[S]ame-sex marriage, if sanctified by the law, if approved by the law, legitimates a public union, a legal status that most people . . . feel ought to be illegitimate. . . . And in so doing it trivializes the legitimate status of marriage and demeans it by putting a stamp of approval . . . on a union that many people . . . think is immoral.' 55

In the campaign for Amendment 2, the Colorado law struck down in Romer v. Evans, anti-gay activists said their reasons for the amendment were:

...among other things: “Sexual molestation of children is a large part of many homosexuals’ lifestyle—part of the very lifestyle ‘gay-rights’ activists want government to give special class, ethnic status!”24 Other campaign materials distributed by supporters of the amendment erroneously charged that “homosexuals commit between 1/3 and 1/2 of all recorded child molestations.”25 (Contrary to these charges, several studies have concluded that the overwhelming majority of child molestations are not committed by gays.)26 An increase in anti-gay hate crimes in Colorado accompanied the campaign to pass the amendment.

In DOMA's Congressional Record, a similar attack was used - they even mentioned ominously the idea of gay people adopting kids:

Upholding traditional morality, encouraging procreation in the context of families, encouraging heterosexuality--these and other important legitimate governmental purposes would be undermined by forcing another State to recognize same-sex unions. Second, in a more pragmatic sense, homosexual couples would presumably become eligible to receive a range of government marital benefits. For example, in Baehr v. Lewin, the court listed fourteen specific `rights and benefits' that are available only to married couples. 852 P.2d at 59 (listing benefits relating to income tax; public assistance; community property; dower, courtesy, and inheritance; probate; child custody and support payments; spousal support; premarital agreements; name changes; nonsupport actions; post-divorce rights; evidentiary privileges; and others). The Committee would add that recognizing same-sex `marriages' would almost certainly have implications on the ability of homosexuals to adopt children as well.

We're in a country where it has been standard practice to accuse gay people of trying to "convert" children or "recruit" them, and to say that we're child molesters and that children need to be "saved" from us. For Congress to imply in its record that gay adoption would be bad (even if they were subtle about it) is amazingly absurd.

It would be easiest for Congress to just repeal it, instead of considering defending it in court. Anyone who supports the law supports the suggestion that heterosexuals are just plain better than gays and that federal law should reflect that.

Originally posted to indiemcemopants on Sun Mar 06, 2011 at 09:19 AM PST.

Also republished by Milk Men And Women.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Because (13+ / 0-)

    We were running low on HATE?

    Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.

    by Horace Boothroyd III on Sun Mar 06, 2011 at 09:33:17 AM PST

  •  I've never been sure whether (17+ / 0-)

    Bill Clinton really is so personally opposed to marriage between same-sex partners or this was more triangulation of the sort he used on so-called "welfare reform."  

    In any case, DOMA and all the "little" state DOMAs are despicable.  I think they are part of the Right's legal toolbox to dismantle the concept of civil rights not only for queers, but for all.  These laws are not being used just to defend the so-called supremacy of heterosexual - though clearly they ARE used for that – but also to legally attack second party adoption, foster parenting by gays, and policies, whether civil unions or employer domestic partner policies, that seek to more equitably distribute certain forms of recognition and benefits.  Beyond that, the rw seeks to deconstruct ANY form of recognition – for queers or anyone else - that doesn't conform to rigid notions of heterosexual marriage, so domestic partner recognition for both queers and others sometimes comes under attack.  So a rigid version of heterosexual marriage becomes the ONLY acceptable norm in the DOMA vision. If DOMA and the little DOMAS stand, they will increasingly be used in ways that just deepen in terms of draconian intent.  And it's horrific enough now.

    Thanks for the important diary, indie.  To me, there is the obvious damage of DOMA, and then there is its "hidden"  or unnoticed utility.

    And yes, you are so right about how this whole mess embeds the image of queers as sexually degraded predators who not only are purported to molest children, but also wreak havoc on everything near and dear to rigid, heteronormative constructions of things.

    Teach us to listen to sounds larger than our own heartbeat; that endure longer than our own weeping in the dark. - Lillian Smith

    by RadioGirl on Sun Mar 06, 2011 at 09:34:48 AM PST

    •  You're right, (11+ / 0-)

      one of the things they alluded to in the record (though not directly, just in the form of a quote from someone else) was that there's a "simple" fact that people are born either male or female and that they are meant for opposite relations and marriage. It wasn't just strictly about gays but to enforce "gender" ideals on everyone as well.

      And re: Bill Clinton, he SAYS (if you can believe what he says) that he signed DOMA to head off a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage and that he didn't really want to. And it has been suggested multiple times that he just did it in order to gain favor with Republican voters for his re-election. So I dunno. I've read that he was very gay friendly while he was governor of Arkansas, but it is difficult for me to see that now.

      (Of course people should look at the context of my writing: I was born in 1984 so I was twelve years old when DOMA was passed. To me, the actions people took in 1996 seem extremely antigay. It's partly a generation thing and partly because I'm a homo myself and I don't like what they did, heh.)

      "If moral disapprobation of homosexual conduct is “no legitimate state interest”[...]what justification could there possibly be for denying the benefits of marriage to homosexual couples[...]?" - Justice Antonin Scalia

      by indiemcemopants on Sun Mar 06, 2011 at 09:43:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  At the time, DOMA was kind of a lesser of (9+ / 0-)

        two evils, though I certainly hated it at the time. However, I was in my mid-20's at the time so had lived through some pretty horrific anti-gay and especially dicrimination againgt PWA'a (I wonder if you'll have to ask me what that means, indie? Not being mean, I just wonder if it's a term you have ever heard before 'cause I haven't heard it used in YEARS) so in many ways, Clinton was a big relief to LGBT folks. But like I said up-thread, looking back on that statement it does look pretty bigoted, but for the times, it was probably the best compromise Clinton could come up with. Time for it to go now, though.

        Don't f*ck with my civil rights. Regards, a gay guy.

        by commonmass on Sun Mar 06, 2011 at 09:49:22 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  a constitutional amendment (10+ / 0-)

        had very little hope of passage. The hurdles are simply too great - and although we have more political power now than we did then, we had enough to stave that off.

        Clinton  over- reached in his campaign - he made absolute promises to overturn the ban on gays in the military - he even committed to doing it on day one of his presidency. After the election however, Sam Nunn (a faux dem Senator from Georgia and head of the armed services committee) started leading the anti-gay crusade. Clinton figured out quickly that he would have to spend political capital on teh gays - and so decided to throw us to the wolves instead so that he could get "important" stuff done. His "prevent the amendment" excuse then was no more true than his revisionist bullshit now.

        My mom wrote a great book on the church & gay marriage - buy it here!

        by hpchicago on Sun Mar 06, 2011 at 09:55:29 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  On the other hand (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          musing85, harrije, commonmass

          Consider if such an amendment had passed in the hysteria of the time, even if it was unlikely.

          The situation now would essentially be hopeless for at least another decade, and probably longer.

          •  On the other hand (6+ / 0-)

            consider what might have happened had Clinton not used "cave at the first sign of opposition" as his modus operandi then and for the following 8 years:

            - we might have gotten national health care, since the Rethugs would have understood him as a strong president rather than a weak one

            - gays would now have been serving openly for almost twenty years, making the US the leader rather than an also ran on this issue.

            - losing the amendment fight (as they surely would have) could have weakened the god-damned anti-gay evangelicals.

            We might have even avoided GWB.

            My mom wrote a great book on the church & gay marriage - buy it here!

            by hpchicago on Sun Mar 06, 2011 at 10:09:01 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Re: (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        elmo, commonmass

        In some ways I can believe it. It's true about any issue though. Presidents can talk a lot in campaigns, but fulfilling those promises is hard. And they certainly need to please some groups to get elected or get votes. So gays are easy to throw under the bus in order to do things that profit more people. And things that are simply more popular.

        And now he considered both DADT and DOMA to be mistakes. Easy to say when you don't have to appease your opponents (and even allies) anymore.

        Obama is kind of the same. He was more pro-gay before he was elected President. Despite all the criticism directed at him, he has done some important things. He is to be commended for that, but personally he is very careful about what he says. Like saying he "struggles" with the issue. I think that bit is more for public consumption than his true feeling.

        •  Exactly. I don't think he "struggles" (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          musing85, sfbob, Chitown Kev

          with it at all. I don't think he cares who's gay, who's straight, who marries or who doesn't. I don't think he thinks it's any of anyone's business. It would be awfully nice of him to say so. He'd get cheers from the LGBT community and many of his fellow Democrats and would send the right into such a frenzy anyone on the fence about gay rights would say "those Republicans are CRAZY". I agree with the President.

          This, of course, takes political will. I need not say more.

          Don't f*ck with my civil rights. Regards, a gay guy.

          by commonmass on Sun Mar 06, 2011 at 10:47:21 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  At the time, there was a push for an amendment (2+ / 0-)

      banning gay marriage.  At the same time, the right suspected (correctly) that the growing prohibitions on discrimination based on sexual orientation were going to lead and were intended to lead to gay marriage.  DOMA effectively took the wind out of those sails.

      DOMA was an atrocious law, but as a matter of political strategy not totally insane.

    •  I don't think Bill Clinton (8+ / 0-)

      hated gay marriage. We were simply disposable people with disposable issues. We also had nowhere else to go and he is nothing if not a master politician.

      My mom wrote a great book on the church & gay marriage - buy it here!

      by hpchicago on Sun Mar 06, 2011 at 09:49:12 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Wow. President Clinton's statement (6+ / 0-)

    sounds really bigoted. I bet, however, today he'd tell you that it was pure political CYA. I'll bet President Obama will someday say "I reversed my position on marriage equality for political expediency". What's nice is we are at the tipping point of having a majority of Americans in support of marriage equality. Which is a good thing.

    This problem of leaving it to the states but the Federal Government not recognizing the marriages is a really big deal, of course, because it has to do nearly exclusively with tax status and, I suppose, also with military and SS survivor benefits. DOMA really did throw a monkey wrench into the entire equality struggle for over a nearly a decade before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court decision.

    I'm glad the administration is no longer going to defend it, and I'm hoping that the way in which the congressional lawyers will defend it will be so full of wing-nut talking points as to be legally laughable. I'll bet that if the Federal Government recognizes unions from states where marriage equality is the law, it will open the floodgates for at least a dozen states to sweep equality onto their books.

    One of the nice things about this, if it were to happen over, say, the next 8 to 10 years that marriage equality swept the country, it would deeply marginalize some of the reddist states. It would really make places like say, Texas, Wyoming, South Carolina look pretty backward in a way that could no longer be denied. Frankly, I'll be willing to bet that of those three states I just mentioned, Texas will actually be the first to cave on equality.

    Anyway, thanks for this insightful diary, indie.

    Don't f*ck with my civil rights. Regards, a gay guy.

    by commonmass on Sun Mar 06, 2011 at 09:41:21 AM PST

    •  Yeah, this: (7+ / 0-)
      I'm hoping that the way in which the congressional lawyers will defend it will be so full of wing-nut talking points as to be legally laughable

      If I recall correctly, people were whining that Obama's DOJ stopped using the Congressional Record. I sincerely hope that whoever defends DOMA will end up using the record. If they do I don't see how it's constitutional under the Romer standard.

      "If moral disapprobation of homosexual conduct is “no legitimate state interest”[...]what justification could there possibly be for denying the benefits of marriage to homosexual couples[...]?" - Justice Antonin Scalia

      by indiemcemopants on Sun Mar 06, 2011 at 09:46:29 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, that's only part of what I was getting at. (8+ / 0-)

        Given that the "Record" is the basis for your analysis in this diary, it's clear that those talking points are already there, so if they use it, yeah, sure, of course. The other part is, though, that some of the Republican rhetoric, especially among some members of the Tea Party, has become even more unhinged and crazy than the arguments used at the time DOMA was passed. I mean, nothing beats my favorite equation: man+man=man/dog. (H/T Rick Santorum).

        What has happened in the years since DOMA became law is that the conservative movement has had time to really coalesce. In doing so, they have become increasingly ideologically "pure" and driven to the point where they no longer seem to live in the real world. What I'm hoping is that their isolation from reason will make their arguments look so ridiculous that anyone sitting in judment in the matter will quickly throw up their hands and say WTF? Then throw DOMA in that circular file called "unconstitutional".

        Don't f*ck with my civil rights. Regards, a gay guy.

        by commonmass on Sun Mar 06, 2011 at 09:55:29 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Re: (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sfbob, commonmass

        It's the people who are attacking DOMA that should use the statements on record. What better way to prove that it's based on nothing but moral disapproval?

  •  another great diary (5+ / 0-)


    I'll admit though that I skimmed much of it - I've just so lost patience with the bigotry that I can barely stand to acknowledge it any longer.

    Since I'm older than you I remember Clinton's betrayal well. And make no mistake, it was nothing more than a calculated kick in the balls to all of his GLBT supporters. A kick designed to do nothing more than deflect eyes away from his own moral failures.

    Despite all of the congressional justifications, our understanding of GLBT people really ISN'T much different now than it was then. Educated and honest people understood then as now that being gay isn't a choice and that the idea of "encouraging" heterosexuality was/is as absurd as "encouraging" blue eyes.

    If those who support our current president without question really want to understand the GLBT distrust and skepticism of him they need look no further back than the Clinton years.

    My mom wrote a great book on the church & gay marriage - buy it here!

    by hpchicago on Sun Mar 06, 2011 at 09:44:16 AM PST

    •  Yeah last year (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      musing85, commonmass, hpchicago

      I came across an article from right after Clinton's election that was about how happy gays were that he won and that gays would finally be recognized. It talked about his pledge to let gays serve openly in the military, and his stance that ENDA should be passed.

      I really felt sick after reading that.

      We've come a long way, except we haven't really.

      And re: skimming it, heh, think of how I felt writing it. I read way more sources than I listed in the diary (as I often do, for accuracy's sake) and I feel gross now.

      "If moral disapprobation of homosexual conduct is “no legitimate state interest”[...]what justification could there possibly be for denying the benefits of marriage to homosexual couples[...]?" - Justice Antonin Scalia

      by indiemcemopants on Sun Mar 06, 2011 at 09:50:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  A friend of mine tells a joke that goes (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      musing85, hpchicago, Steve84

      something like this: Bill Clinton, having been crucified by Congress, died and descended into the dead. Eight years later, he rose again in the form of Barack Obama.

      I'm finding it not far from the truth.

      Don't f*ck with my civil rights. Regards, a gay guy.

      by commonmass on Sun Mar 06, 2011 at 10:04:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Well hello there. (10+ / 0-)

    I should write about gay issues several times a day here at Dkos if there's gonna be ads featuring almost-naked men in my diaries.

    "If moral disapprobation of homosexual conduct is “no legitimate state interest”[...]what justification could there possibly be for denying the benefits of marriage to homosexual couples[...]?" - Justice Antonin Scalia

    by indiemcemopants on Sun Mar 06, 2011 at 09:55:23 AM PST

  •  Who would have thunk? (12+ / 0-)
    I therefore would take this opportunity to urge Congress to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, an act which would extend employment discrimination protections to gays and lesbians in the workplace. This year the Senate considered this legislation contemporaneously with the Act I sign today and failed to pass it by a single vote.

    14 years later, it couldn't even get to a vote in the Senate or the House with big Democratic majorities.

    15 years later, it will never even be considered in either the Senate or the House.

    •  Huh. That's a very interesting (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      musing85, commonmass, hpchicago


      I would have said I wonder if that version of ENDA was trans-inclusive and people are just more bigoted about transgender folks, but even the non trans-inclusive version didn't get a vote.

      "If moral disapprobation of homosexual conduct is “no legitimate state interest”[...]what justification could there possibly be for denying the benefits of marriage to homosexual couples[...]?" - Justice Antonin Scalia

      by indiemcemopants on Sun Mar 06, 2011 at 10:04:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Kind of makes the (5+ / 0-)

      "Just wait, be patient, it's coming..." talking points seem like bullshit, huh? We waited 15 years, and it's not closer. It's farther.

      When I was young, I thought money was the most important thing in life. Now that I'm old - I know it is.--Oscar Wilde

      by Scott Wooledge on Sun Mar 06, 2011 at 10:28:05 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Aaactually, (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        musing85, sfbob, commonmass

        while ENDA has been around since the mid-90s, antidiscrimination for gays has been proposed since the 70s.

        So, we've waited at least 40 years.

        "If moral disapprobation of homosexual conduct is “no legitimate state interest”[...]what justification could there possibly be for denying the benefits of marriage to homosexual couples[...]?" - Justice Antonin Scalia

        by indiemcemopants on Sun Mar 06, 2011 at 10:30:44 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, farther away and yet: (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        musing85, johnny wurster

        all over the planet all sorts of countries--some surprising, like Spain--have made marriage equality a reality.

        Clark, you'd know if anyone would: have we had some kind of international marriage equality summit here in the US with representatives of all the countries/states/provinces which have marriage equality? If not, we should: if it could get any press, it might go a long way towards making the bigots seem really backward.

        Don't f*ck with my civil rights. Regards, a gay guy.

        by commonmass on Sun Mar 06, 2011 at 10:33:02 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Re: (5+ / 0-)

          One reason some surprising countries like Spain and Argentina are among that list is because they have very recent memories of often brutal dictatorships. Dictatorships that (especially in the case of Spain) were fully supported by the Catholic Church. So people have an understandable distrust of organized religion.

          One noteworthy country in that regard is Ireland. If any country on Earth can be called a Christian theocracy it was Ireland as little as 30-40 years ago. But they grew up (no thanks to many Catholic child abuse scandals) and just recently legalized Civil Unions and there are chances that the next President will be gay.

        •  The French high court (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sfbob, Clarknt67, commonmass

          recently rejected the argument that gay marriage ban is unconstitutional.  So there's work to do all over the world.

        •  That's a big if (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          harrije, sfbob, commonmass
          ...if it could get any press, it might go a long way towards making the bigots seem really backward.

          As we've seen over the last week and more, despite riots throughout much of the Muslim world, and union-busting initiatives in at least three states generating enormous counter-protests, the biggest thing in the media has been the public flame-out of an overpaid blowhole who's been enjoying steady employment on a television program that should have been canceled after its first season.

          A better tactic, and one that resonates well with overall Democratic themes (and Republican lies), would be to point out how being anti-gay costs us jobs. Look at the Fortune 500: most of them have long since realized that discriminating against LGBT people costs them good employees, and puts them at a potential competitive disadvantage. In an increasingly globalized economy, the fact that the United States is still one of the few major economic powers that legally discriminates against LGBTs makes it harder for us to attract foreign companies to U.S. soil--or to keep those that are already here.

  •  As I just wrote in my Diary (6+ / 0-)

    When I was young, I thought money was the most important thing in life. Now that I'm old - I know it is.--Oscar Wilde

    by Scott Wooledge on Sun Mar 06, 2011 at 10:14:54 AM PST

    •  those theocrats ought to read their bible (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sfbob, commonmass

      Luke 18
       1 Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart, 2 saying: “There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man. 3 Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, ‘Get justice for me from my adversary.’ 4 And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ‘Though I do not fear God nor regard man, 5 yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.’”

      this is why they are losing.  because of the people who keep asking for justice until they get it.  it's right there in their own bible if they ever read it.  

  •  There's an interesting diary which (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sfbob, Clarknt67, commonmass

    links antagonism towards teachers with the desire to maintain a stratified social structure.

    I think it's relevant because I contend that the antagonism towards LBTGs is just the latest effort to single out a group that's separate and unequal.  The basic antagonism, of course, is to the principle of equality -- the antithesis of a social hierarchy -- for the simple reason that equality leaves the incompetent without the succor they need.  If the incompetent can't lord it over someone and intimidate them into laboring for them, they're in a pickle.

    Clinton, of course, as a well-intentioned southerner, didn't really appreciate, as Lyndon Johnson did, that there's a huge difference between not shutting people out and inviting them to come in.  Desegregation is not the same as integration, even though some of the opponents of segregation thought that making that illegal would solve the problem of people being excluded on the basis of irrelevant superficial characteristics.  They were wrong.  Indeed, they were so wrong that all the exclusionary practices with which certain ethnic and minority populations were held in a subordinate position have subsequently been deployed against the vast majority.  The impoverishment of the middle class is not a happenstance.  What's different now is that the middle class is suddenly waking up to the fact that the deprivators aren't at all selective about whom they'll deprive.  I understand that lions in the wild do not eat their own kind.  Humans, though they typically don't eat their own kind, either, have no compunction about engaging in human husbandry --exploiting their own kind to their detriment.

    by hannah on Sun Mar 06, 2011 at 10:33:31 AM PST

    •  We have always been a highly stratefied (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      musing85, sfbob

      especially in the South. I agree with you: this is all about control, social class, "other". I find it very interesting that more people don't see what's happening here and say "whoa, wait a minute!". The oligarchs and the Right seem to have succeeded in getting a surprising number of the American people to look the other way while they pick their pockets, drive them into wage-slavery, and divide them against their neighbors.

      It's like the old Russian tale about the peasant who dances wildly while his lord beats him with a stick screaming "your business is rejoicing! Your business is rejoicing!".

      Don't f*ck with my civil rights. Regards, a gay guy.

      by commonmass on Sun Mar 06, 2011 at 10:40:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I like Bill Clinton but it must be (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cali Scribe, musing85, sfbob

    remembered that he is Southern Baptist and from the Bible Belt and Good Ol' Boy. Teh Gay down here squicks guys. And even someone as smart and well-traveled as Bill can't get past that.  John Edwards said something similar durign the campaign.

    Also remember that another Southern Baptist from the Bible Belt signed the original Hyde Amendment into law--Jimmy Carter.

    I think there's a really good argument that can be made about actually knowing what a candidate's religious beliefs are on certain issues because it's very likley they will come into play during his administration. Not a religious test, but strong questions about how his faith beleifs would influence his actions. Frankly, I'd vote against someone who doesn't believe in evolution, thinks abortion is murder, believes women should be submissive to men, and that gays are an abomination--because they wouldn't represent my interests.

    The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

    by irishwitch on Sun Mar 06, 2011 at 10:57:01 AM PST

  •  If nothing else it shows just how useless (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    the notion of constitutional originalism is when you're dealing with massive cultural shifts: the 18th century had no points of reference for making sensible laws regarding the LGBT community. Even in 1995 had DOMA gone to the Supreme Court I'd bet money that the majority vote would have been easily in favor of its constitutionality; now with Lawrence and an undeniable shift in the way we understand these issues, it's looking more and more like the courts will recognize it as unconstitutional.  That won't stop Scalia from ripping his colleagues that a few gentlemen in the eighteenth century, who didn't know a thing about homosexuality except that it was gross and un-Biblical, should still be considered the legal reference points on this issue.  Here's hoping the majority disagrees.

    Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

    by pico on Sun Mar 06, 2011 at 11:48:37 AM PST

  •  A little more (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    harrije, pico, sfbob

    A big part of the history was that Hawaii's Supreme Court seemed close to legalizing gay marriage, and states wanted to protect themselves from having to recognize them.

    You can read the House Judiciary Report via this link.

  •  Looking at the Congressional Record, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    musing85, sfbob, Steve84

    I'd say that Congress has fallen short in "upholding traditional morality" (Craig, Foley, Gingrich, Ensign, etc.) and "encouraging procreation in the context of families" (Bristol Palin). And why should heterosexuality need to be encouraged? If you're straight, you're straight -- and no gay or lesbian person is going to "convert" you otherwise.

    Now to try to end the wars we ask our gay and straight soldiers to fight. -- Chris Hayes

    by Cali Scribe on Sun Mar 06, 2011 at 12:25:16 PM PST

  •  Late to the party... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ...great Diary indie.

    1996 seems like another century compared to now. I had no dream of being married as few as 5 years ago.

    I'm just hopeful we see the end of this egregious law very soon.

    My moral compass is just fine... now where was I going?

    by cooper888 on Sun Mar 06, 2011 at 12:47:46 PM PST

  •  Tipped and recced (0+ / 0-)

    and I cooncur, this is a great diary.

    And we need to be focused like a laser upon those 1996 congressional arguments; in fact, I'll make it a point to study them.

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