Most of the gay media I’ve read about this stops short of the full story, and summarizes this as Obama finally doing the right thing. That may be true, but I encourage you to read more about what the White House actually said- the full story. There are some details about why this is happening now, with the recent cases in the 2nd district and how these are different from previous cases. The next step, is to see if Congress will choose to hire attorneys and defend DOMA in the courts.

Holder wrote to House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, that Obama has concluded the Defense of Marriage Act fails to meet a rigorous standard under which courts view with suspicion any laws targeting minority groups who have suffered a history of discrimination.

Boehner’s response, would have been a joke, had he not been serious.

“While Americans want Washington to focus on creating jobs and cutting spending, the President will have to explain why he thinks now is the appropriate time to stir up a controversial issue that sharply divides the nation.”

The “appropriate time” part is easy. The White House had to either file to appeal or not file to appeal. If the WH had chosen to not do this, at this time, it would have had to move forward and defend DOMA in these two new cases. These two cases are different because of being in the 2nd district. Additionally, it would have continued to harm the President’s standing with queer voters who have wanted to see this statement from the President for some time. but that isn’t the laughable part of Boehner’s statement.

Since the Republicans took over the House, not a single bill that they have brought forward has really been about jobs or genuine spending cuts. Everything they have taken up has been about controversial social issues like abortion. This is kettle Boehner calling the pot…. you know how that goes.

But another point needs to be highlighted. This bill really isn’t about gay marriage. It is merely about treating federal employees who are legally married the same, in all states. Even if DOMA was repealed (or overturned as unconstitutional) it wouldn’t create same-sex marriage. Boehner tries to mask the real importance of an over turning of DOMA, by calling on a more generalized prejudice.

Other DOMA supporters feel this will be good for their side of the battle:

Some opponents of same-sex marriage said the administration’s decision could end up helping to preserve the law in court. “The previous efforts of the Obama administration and DOJ to defend the law were so inadequate as to raise the suspicion that the Justice Department was deliberately throwing the case,” said Robert George, a political science professor at Princeton University who opposes same-sex marriage. “Chances are the law will get a robust defense, and I suspect it will withstand constitutional scrutiny.”

But in reality, there is little reason to believe this. In every court battle, prohibition of same-sex marriage, and especially the unconstitutionality of naming marriage as between one man and one woman has been accentuated. The only place same-sex marriage opponents seem to “win” is when the issue is put to a vote, and even there, they have to rely on fear mongering and misinformation to get the votes needed to stop same-sex marriage.

Some are claiming that this move by Obama is all about politics, and that may be partially true. This forces the issue of supporting discrimination, front and center for the GOP, and they don’t really want that at the moment. The GOP wants to pretend they are really all about jobs and the economy, and we know that even when the American people are not too sure if they support gay marriage, they are more clear that they oppose discrimination. The good news, is we have a president who is now acting like many thought he would to support fairness and equal treatment under the law for all people, including gays and lesbians. The bad news (or maybe it will be good news?) is that same-sex marriage will be a central issue in the next national elections of 2012.

I was listening to Michelangelo Signoreli last evening, and he was making a big deal out of the fact that in doing this, Obama wasn’t also pulling back on the appeals to DOMA that are already in progress. He saw that as a bad thing, but I disagree. I think it allows this administration to feed into the court record, their position on DOMA- that it is unconstitutional- and doesn’t allow conservative anti-gay folks to take over until the next level of higher courts, where they will have a harder time since it will already be in the court documents that the government believes that section 3 of DOMA is unconstitutional.

via Gov’t drops defense of anti-gay marriage law.

I also pulled material for this post from Towleroad

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