Oh my: Obama's DOJ to defend Defense of Marriage Act in court

DOMA is the federal statute that says state X, which prohibits gay marriage, can’t be forced to recognize a gay marriage performed in state Y. As Tapper reminds us, candidate Obama opposed it in 2007. Two years later, Change has come to America. Question: Why does the president hate gay people?

Justice spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler said that President Obama “has said he wants to see a legislative repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act because it prevents LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) couples from being granted equal rights and benefits,” she said. “However, until Congress passes legislation repealing the law, the administration will continue to defend the statute when it is challenged in the justice system.”…

The Obama administration cited Catalano v. Catalano (marriage of uncle to niece, “though valid in Italy under its laws, was not valid in Connecticut because it contravened the public policy of th[at] state”); Wilkins v. Zelichowski (marriage of 16-year-old female held invalid in New Jersey, regardless of validity in Indiana where performed, in light of N.J. policy reflected in statute permitting adult female to secure annulment of her underage marriage), and re Mortenson’s Estate, (marriage of first cousins held invalid in Arizona, though lawfully performed in New Mexico, given Arizona policy reflected in statute declaring such marriages “prohibited and void”).

“Holy cow,” wrote [Americablog’s John] Aravosis. “Obama invoked incest and people marrying children.”

Consider this another one of those highly nuanced, “pragmatic” reversals that the media — sans Tapper, natch — will helpfully overlook. “But wait,” you say, “isn’t the president duty bound to enforce a federal statute until Congress gets around to repealing it?” Why, er, no. Back in 2000, a little-known law passed in 1968 that purported to override the Warren Court’s “Miranda warnings” was challenged before the Supreme Court. Clinton’s DOJ actually sided with the criminal in arguing that the Miranda case was based on the Fifth Amendment and therefore the statute was unconstitutional; the Supremes had to invite a law professor unconnected to the case to defend the statute at oral arguments. (The DOJ/criminal dynamic duo won.) The charitable view of this is that The One’s thinking strategically, knowing there’d be a backlash against gay marriage if states that prohibit it were suddenly forced to recognize gay unions performed in, say, Iowa. He’s only looking out for the best interests of gays, you see. The uncharitable view is that he’s worried that the backlash would cripple his reelection chances, no matter how much it might please his gay constituents, and therefore he’s better off defending DOMA. You don’t think our Barry would be that cynical, do you?

I have no grand finale to this post, so let’s wind down with Carrie Prejean rocking the Farrah Fawcett hair.