In 1996, Hawaii decided to legalize gay marriage. Since Article 4, Section 1 of the Constitution mandates that all states will honor the laws of all other states (i.e., a couple married in Hawaii must also be considered married by Arizona), Republicans across the country went into immediate meltdown. So the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was passed to federally define marriage as a union between a man and a woman. That allowed politicians in individual states to pander to their conservative base by pushing through state bans on gay marriage in spite of the 14th amendment to the US constitution which says “No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States…” .
When Barack Obama ran for President, he promised to tell the Justice Department to stop enforcing DOMA, since it was obviously unfair. He touted himself as the gay community’s ‘fierce advocate.’ Not surprisingly Obama received tons of money for his election campaign from the gay community.
After taking office, however, he instructed Justice to fiercely enforce DOMA while telling the gay community that there was nothing he could do — the law is the law. Meanwhile, case after case continued to wind its way through the court system, with gays hoping to eventually have the Supreme Court declare DOMA unconstitutional, since it specifically helps one group of people while punishing another. The Justice Department fought each one of them, often stooping to using insulting language to ridicule and demean gays in the process.
When the POTUS started actively running for reelection, he reached out to the gay community for funding. Not surprisingly they responded with a hearty “FU”. Eventually our president told Justice to stop enforcing DOMA, in the hope that (a) it would free up the gay purse strings, and (b) stop the legal march towards the Supreme Court (some cynics believe that if Obama gets reelected, he’ll reverse his order to Justice). His action accomplished neither agenda.
Last week, the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston agreed with a 2010 lower court ruling that DOMA is unconstitutional because it discriminates against married same-sex couples by denying them the same federal benefits given to heterosexual married couples. Leaders of the Republican Party are already working on appealing this ruling.
Note: Because two of the three judges on the 1st Court are Republicans, there is some speculation that Rush Limbaugh’s head will explode once he hears about this. I hope they show it on cable. Heck, I’d even watch it on pay-per-view…