Justice Dept extending new benefits to same sex couples

posted at 4:01 pm on February 8, 2014 by Jazz Shaw

With the pen and the phone, eh? It’s a brave new world, folks.

The Justice Department on Monday will extend a new package of federal benefits to same-sex couples that Attorney General Eric Holder said will give “lawful same-sex marriages full and equal recognition, to the greatest extent possible under the law.”

In remarks prepared for a speech Saturday night to the Human Rights Campaign in New York, Holder said the new benefits will apply to gay couples who are legally married, even to those who live in states that do not recognize same-sex marriage.

The moves are the latest in a series of actions following the US Supreme Court’s ruling in June that struck down a key part of the Defense of Marriage Act, which had barred the federal government from recognizing legally valid same-sex marriages.

Of course, what they can do from the Justice Department is fairly limited. None of these new guidelines will apply at the state level (yet) and primarily affect rules designed to benefit married couples in their dealings with the federal justice system. These include:

- Federal death benefits and educational payments given to surviving spouses of injured or deceased public safety officers
- Visitation rights and eligibility for compassionate release or sentence reductions for inmates in federal prisons
- The application of eligibility rules for married couples in federal bankruptcy proceedings

Apparently Holder is giving a policy speech this weekend which will highlight this theme and he wants you to know that he really, really means it.

Holder, who has made civil rights a priority for the Justice Department, said that as important as the right against racial discrimination has been, “my commitment to confronting discrimination based on sexual orientation runs just as deep.”

I imagine this is an early shot across the bow from the President to demonstrate that he meant it when he said he would act without Congress where he can. It’s not difficult to imagine that other departments will be lining up with similar rulings wherever the word “marriage” intersects with their particular bailiwick. And it’s true that Obama can make an end run around Congress on these items since they fall pretty much elusively in the Executive branch powers.

But there are two things to remember about this. First, the number of people affected is actually fairly small, as such orders can’t touch proceedings at the state level and not that many couples wind up in the federal system for these purposes as compared to local and state proceedings. That’s pretty much baked into the cake as per the Constitution. And second, such orders which are enacted with a stroke of the Executive pen have a shelf life precisely as long as the amount of time the author keeps hold of said pen. The next President can keep the rules, modify them, or discard them as they wish.

All in all, this is much like raising the minimum wage by executive fiat, but only having it apply to federal workers. It’s largely symbolic, buys some good headlines over a few days of the news cycle (for an administration that really needs some good news) and only directly affects those already caught in the web of the federal system.


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Let’s cut to the chase — He can’t. Not legally, anyway. They can morally recognize whatever they want, but if we’re talking about giving out tax money, which is what this is all about, it has to be given out according to the law as written, not at the administration’s whim. It isn’t all just a pile of money to be used at their total discretion.

In less words, nakedly and undeniably illegal (yeah, I know… like it’d be the first time… but regardless.)

If this happens, and tax dollar 1 goes out under it, any Republican who does not immediately move to remove Holder for theft of tax dollars should be hounded out of office without even waiting for primaries. It doesn’t get any more open and shut. This is as ‘we all saw him in the act with our own eyes’ as it gets. Even a trial would be a formality that was an insult to the public’s intelligence (and, ..yeah, I know. I know. But regardless.)

Dirty Creature on February 10, 2014 at 8:47 AM

1) “Militant” homosexuals? Look, if you want to villainize and characterize people a certain way to prove your point… I could do the same thing and characterize all religious people as “militant”, but that would be wrong… zacmidnigh on February 10, 2014 at 12:57 AM

The point was about militant homosexuals, you know, as opposed to the non-militant variety.

If you used the term “militant religious people,” it would differentiate those you were talking about from the non-militant variety.

See how that works?

Akzed on February 10, 2014 at 9:01 AM

LeftoCenter on February 9, 2014 at 9:13 PM

No, pedophelia and cannibalism would be harmful to our otherwise healthy society.

Sorry LefttoCenter but your response it a total non sequiter. The question at hand was whether the observance of some behavior in the animal kingdom automatically means it’s natural or normal for humans to engage in, which your original statement implied was the case. Now you’re changing the question to what the relative harms are between cannibalism, pedophelia and homosexuality. Whether something is harmful or natural are two different questions. Hurricanes are harmful, but they are natural and normal. The fact that you don’t want to call pedophelia or cannibalism natural or normal means you don’t believe we should look to the animal kingdom as the gauge to whether some human behavior is normal, contrary to your original statement. You’re doing what SSM apologists do all the time…tossing out a convenient argument, but then when pressed to follow it an uncomfortable logical end, just changing the question at hand.

With that said, marriage between two consenting adults of the same sex has no adverse implications on society as something like pedophelia

Tell that to the bakers and photographers that are out of business now because they refused to participate in a same sex wedding.

Through evolution and experience, us homo sapiens have learned that in order to survive as a species we need to band together into societies and in order to keep said societies together, certain rules must be implemented. If society should crumble, our species risks extinction.

And how exactly does pedophelia “risk extinction”? It’s homosexuality that at least in theory “risks extinction”. Like I said before, if homosexuality ever became the norm, that would be a disaster for the human race. Now if homosexuality is truly genetic, such a scenario could never happen since homosexuality works toward the exact opposite end of evolution, namely the non reproduction of the species (which really begs the question as to why evolution hasn’t already eliminated homosexuality from the human race, since it’s supposedly human traits that hinder reproduction that get eliminated). However, if homosexuality is caused by something environmental, then it’s at least theoretically possible it could spread throughout the human race and at that point it would be like a deadly virus. Which brings me back to my point that it is a disorder.

zacmidnigh on February 9, 2014 at 9:09 PM
Um…his point was to refute the idea that homosexuality is unnatural, which he did. Getting into the moralistic question about it is a completely different matter.

Sorry, but you’re assuming a definition of “natural” that is so broad that it’s impossible to label any human behavior “unnatural”. It seems all I need to do is find one other example of some behavior out there in nature (that would include other humans), and presto I can label that behavior “natural”. What human behavior would not be “natural” with such a broad definition of it? When I say “natural”, I’m using one of the defintions in Webster: “having a normal or usual character”. Here is a statement from the Wiki article I was pointed to by LefttoCenter:

“Thus, a homosexual orientation, if one can speak of such thing in animals, seems to be a rarity.”

If it’s a rarity, I think that falls outside the definition of having a “normal or usual character.

frank63 on February 10, 2014 at 9:04 AM

“Let’s imitate animals!” -zacmidnigh

Akzed on February 10, 2014 at 9:25 AM

# 1) Militant homosexuals are NOT TRYING TO LIVE THEIR LIVES IN PEACE ….. with them, it’s either we openly, formally accept their behavior/life-style or it’s war.

listens2glenn on February 10, 2014 at 12:36 AM

.
1) “Militant” homosexuals? Look, if you want to villainize and characterize people a certain way to prove your point, that automatically discredits whatever you are trying to explain. Yes there are terrible people who happen to be homosexual, but so is that the case with every group of people. It serves best to not make broad generalizations about individuals, as it only hurts those who are trying to make a living, which most homosexuals and others do. Heck, I could do the same thing and characterize all religious people as “militant”, but that would be wrong, as there are many people out there with a religious background who have no problem with homosexuals having the ability to be accepted equally under the law.
In most cases, the only people who seem to be forcing anyone to do anything are those who hold onto draconian laws without any justifiable reason. That is the true form of militant if there is one at all.

zacmidnigh on February 10, 2014 at 12:57 AM

.
I characterized a relatively **small** number of homosexuals, as “militant homosexuals”.
They totally qualify as “villains”. Nothing about that constitutes a “broad generalization”. A majority of homosexuals are NOT MILITANT.

“Accepting homosexuals” is not the same thing as “accepting homosexuality”.
God divides and separates sinners from sin, and so do I.
Love the homosexual, hate homosexuality.

Rejection of ‘same-sex marriage’ does NOT constitute denying homosexuals the ability to be accepted equally under the law.

I see it as your side, who is creating draconian laws, to force someone to do something UN-justifiable. That qualifies it as “militant”.

listens2glenn on February 10, 2014 at 10:00 AM

The point was about militant homosexuals, you know, as opposed to the non-militant variety.

If you used the term “militant religious people,” it would differentiate those you were talking about from the non-militant variety.

See how that works?

Akzed on February 10, 2014 at 9:01 AM

No, the point wasn’t that at all. Considering that he is using that to make a point about homosexuals in general, they might as well be the same to him. Learn to read between the lines, you’ll be able to understand nuances that people express. Heck, we all do it with President Obama, which liberals defending him all say wasn’t what “he really said since he didn’t directly say it” or something. Wow, I guess conservatives and liberals aren’t really all that different after all.

“Let’s imitate animals!” -zacmidnigh

Akzed on February 10, 2014 at 9:25 AM

Again, learn to read. If you bothered to actually read my posts, instead of looking to throw insults or putting words in my mouth like the average schoolyard taunt, perhaps you would see that I didn’t say or imply that at all. But again, when two sides are so far apart, perhaps that is the best that one can hope for. A shame.

zacmidnigh on February 10, 2014 at 10:05 AM

I see it as your side, who is creating draconian laws, to force someone to do something UN-justifiable. That qualifies it as “militant”.

listens2glenn on February 10, 2014 at 10:00 AM

Do you see now why I said that this conversation is pointless?

zacmidnigh on February 10, 2014 at 10:06 AM

# 2) Brace yourself (or not) : denying homosexual behavior/life-style the status of accepted, as a “legitimate, alternate state of normal” does NOT constitute an “imposition on others homosexuals who are adults choosing to live their lives in peace.”

listens2glenn on February 10, 2014 at 12:36 AM

.
2) Yes. It. Does. By saying that homosexuality is unacceptable under the law is delineating it to a second-class status, telling those of that background that they are unaccepted and not worthy of any equal protection under the law. By doing that, you propagate the notion, within cultural as well as legal circles, that it is okay to tell homosexuals, and the families they raise, that they aren’t a “real family”. The fact that you can sit there and do such harm to families that mostly want to live their lives in peace is disheartening.

zacmidnigh on February 10, 2014 at 12:57 AM

.
The practice of homosexuality is lower … than “second-class”.

Homosexuality is “abnormal”, and will not be openly accepted as such.

Homosexuals who go about their lives, … without trying to promote homosexuality as a valid, legitimate, alternate state of “normal”, … are accepted, everyday, in the U.S., and I’d bet all those persons around them :

1) know they are ‘homosexual’

2) don’t care, as long as they (the homosexual) do their job well, and are easy to get along with.
.
But the instant someone starts agitating/campaigning for legalized, open acceptance of homosexuality (same-sex marriage), then “easy to get along with” goes right out the window.

listens2glenn on February 10, 2014 at 11:28 AM

And just as unconstitutional. They are not married unless the State in which they reside recognizes their marriage. The Supreme Court said the States determine marital status, not the Federal government.

federale86 on February 10, 2014 at 11:55 AM

And just as unconstitutional. They are not married unless the State in which they reside recognizes their marriage. The Supreme Court said the States determine marital status, not the Federal government.

federale86 on February 10, 2014 at 11:55 AM

Yep, that’s what I said as well. I’m all for equality under the law, but that doesn’t mean to disregard what the laws are on the books now. As members of the executive branch, that is their job…to execute the laws on the books. The land will ultimately change, but that isn’t the case right now. Holder is misusing the Windsor ruling to fit his agenda. It is the characteristic of this administration. The thing is, no one will go against this since it is an ever acceptable stance culturally. The problem will be when the federal government does this about something that isn’t so.

zacmidnigh on February 10, 2014 at 12:19 PM

How ironic that Holder compares the civil rights movement with same sex marriage. Instead of segregating schools based on race, SSM segregates marriage by gender.

Keep marriage pro-gender. Because gender matters to everyone, including people with same sex attraction.

MominVermont on February 10, 2014 at 4:02 PM

As one of ‘em gay homosexual types, let me offer some advice, when the administration pulls the Gay Friendly card, especially when whatever they are proposing effects such a small number of folks, just let it go! All you’re doing is giving the Left more examples of what they will inevitable spin as Anti-Gay sentiment among the Right…BS!

Von Kleist on February 10, 2014 at 6:42 PM

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