Lukewarm response to campaign to repeal DADT, DOMA, issue of Constitutional amendment bill to prohibit same-sex marriage, etc.

  • Menergy_1

    Posts: 737

    May 11, 2009 2:33 PM GMT
    Here is the cautiously worded reply to a letter I had sent in to Tom Udall (my New Mexico senator), urging him and others in Congress to repeal the ban on homosexuals in the US military, the DOMA inequitable (and possibly unconstitutional) law, and (as I recall) to support action to redefine the term "marriage"at the federal level to provide equal protection and various benefits/privileges/legal advantages to same-sex married people as enjoyed by spouses of opposite gender:


    "Thank you for contacting me regarding same-sex marriage. I appreciate hearing from you on this issue.

    As you may know, on March 4, 2009, Representative Daniel Lundgren (CA) introduced House Joint Resolution 37 (H.J. Res. 37), which would amend the U.S. Constitution to declare that marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. It also would prohibit the Constitution or any state constitution from being construed to require that marital status or its legal incidents be conferred upon any union other than that of a man and a woman. After introduction, H.J. Res 37 was referred to the House Judiciary Committee, where it awaits further action. To date, no similar resolution has been introduced in the Senate.

    I do not believe that a constitutional amendment is necessary regarding marriage. As a matter of law, the definition of marriage is a state, not a federal, question. For over 228 years, these types of laws have been administered by the states. This issue need not and should not be addressed in our federal Constitution. Congress passed the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in 1996 that prohibits a state from being forced to recognize another state's laws in this area. Subsequently, President Clinton signed this Act into law. Please be assured that I will continue to monitor this issue and keep your views in mind if related legislation is considered in the Senate.

    Thank you again for sharing your thoughts with me. Please feel free to contact me with concerns about any federal issue. You may visit my website at www.tomudall.senate.gov for more information."



    It seems carefully couched to not stir up any trouble. Do you agree with my reaction? (I know from long experience working in government that replies are usually very carefully crafted to not say too much)

    Had you heard about the bill introduced in the House for a constitutional amendment to define marriage according to "religious" norms? Jeez, just how far are these people prepared to go to hate on love and equality?

    (No snarky remarks about keying up "Kumbaya" either! LOL)
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    May 11, 2009 3:31 PM GMT
    AbFab1 said"Congress passed the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in 1996 that prohibits a state from being forced to recognize another state's laws in this area." from Udall's reply.

    He only states half of the effect of DOMA, regarding the states alone. The bill's authors also ensured that the Federal government would only recognize marriage between a man and a woman.

    This is one reason why the District of Columbia's recent move to permit gay marriage may ultimately be decided in court, since DC is federal property and federally overseen. And why Congress may refuse to approve the DC law, which is their prerogative.

    DOMA also negatively impacts Social Security benefits between gay couples, even those legally married in states permitting gay unions, and prevents gay couple from being registered in the US census every 10 years. Immigration issues, and even international travel by gay US citizens are other areas where DOMA is felt.

    I wonder why Tom Udall oversimplified DOMA, making it sound quite benign, basically just letting the states do whatever they want regarding marriage, which they've always done anyway? He doesn't sound very gay friendly.
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    May 11, 2009 5:09 PM GMT
    These laws will not pass in a Democratic Congress. The Repubs can filibuster, but they cant pass anything...and the Dems wont pass something hurtful to gays. They may not repeal DADT (but I think they will), but they wont pass DOMA. But gays need to let Obama handle the timing of these things, I think.
  • Anto

    Posts: 2035

    May 11, 2009 5:31 PM GMT
    You know it's BS when people say that marriage is a state matter and not federal. The federal government is very much involved with straight marriage, even banning gay marriage recognition. Many states still banned interracial marriages when they were forced to recognize them even.. I guess it's only a state matter in regard to gay marriage because apparently that is not the case in regard to heterosexual marriages..
  • jaded57

    Posts: 85

    May 11, 2009 10:13 PM GMT
    Didnt Bill Clinton sign the original DOMA and the revised DADT in the first place?
  • Menergy_1

    Posts: 737

    May 12, 2009 5:42 PM GMT
    Here's the response from the other Democratic NM Senator, Jeff Bingaman:

    Thank you for contacting me regarding gay marriage. I appreciate your taking the time to write and share your views with me.

    I believe that government should work to promote policies that encourage a culture of tolerance regardless of race, religion, or sexual orientation, and I remain committed to supporting legislation that protects all individuals from bias and discrimination. I do not support the proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution to define marriage as being between a man and a woman, and voted against it on June 7, 2006. I believe that states should be allowed to determine their own laws on this subject and that the people of New Mexico should be afforded the opportunity to determine their own legal standard for what constitutes marriage.

    Again, thank you for writing. I hope you will continue to keep me informed of issues of importance to you and your community.

    Sincerely,

    JEFF BINGAMAN
    United States Senator


    Seems the final word on the issue of denial of civil rights/equal protection, etc. by the various state "hetero only" marriage laws (and maybe State constitutions) and DOMA and also DADT is going to have be be a suit brought before the US Supreme Court for a judgement....like Loving vs. VA on mixed-race marriages, Roe vs. Wade, and other cases where the SCOTUS weighed whether the issues violated constitutional rights.

    It IS a matter of time, I believe.

    That isn't the federal government interfering in religion or states' rights, it's determination of violating the Constitution -- and then exercising the powers granted to the Federal government to correct that. (At least in my opinion)
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    May 14, 2009 4:23 AM GMT
    Where in the constitution does it say that gays OR straights can serve in the military. Men and women serve in the military, and that's it. It's as simple as that. I don't need to know anyones sexual orientation. Nonetheless, I wouldn't be unhappy if they repeal the policy. but it's not important at this point.
  • Menergy_1

    Posts: 737

    May 14, 2009 2:41 PM GMT
    cruelsummer saidWhere in the constitution does it say that gays OR straights can serve in the military. Men and women serve in the military, and that's it. It's as simple as that. I don't need to know anyones sexual orientation. Nonetheless, I wouldn't be unhappy if they repeal the policy. but it's not important at this point.


    Maybe I was too inclusive in lumping in DADT issues with the marriage discussion and constitutional rights. You make a good point about "anyone" serving in the military.
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    May 14, 2009 3:04 PM GMT
    AbFab1 said
    cruelsummer saidWhere in the constitution does it say that gays OR straights can serve in the military. Men and women serve in the military, and that's it. It's as simple as that. I don't need to know anyones sexual orientation. Nonetheless, I wouldn't be unhappy if they repeal the policy. but it's not important at this point.


    Maybe I was too inclusive in lumping in DADT issues with the marriage discussion and constitutional rights. You make a good point about "anyone" serving in the military.


    You're right that the constitution does not expressly prohibit gays from serving in the military but the issue about who can serve and how is not a constitutional one. As far as I can remember, the constitution only allows for the raising of an army and places the president as commander in chief. But all of the other rules about how the army is run are made by executive order. When the armed forces were desegregated, it was by executive order, which is I believe what Clinton tried to do-- to remove the ban on gay personnel. Unfortunately, the armed forces is also a power unto itself in government and kicked up a stink, which had support in Congress and, really, in the country as a whole.

    I think Obama will do something about equality for gays and lesbians, likely by executive order, but to be honest, there are some bigger challenges -- both economic, military and in terms of civil liberties -- than DADT and DOMA. And we are making huge progress without him-- Iowa, Maine, Vermont. So, I think we all ought to chill out a bit and fight the smaller battles we can win so that our position is normalized and it makes taking federal action that much easier.
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    May 14, 2009 4:42 PM GMT
    It is very difficult to change the US Constitution (unlike the California Constitution). A constitutional amendment against marriage equality would never finish the process. Even so, we can and should tell our legislators that such an amendment is a "bad idea", just so they know where we stand, and it won't hurt to throw in a few jabs at DADT and DOMA if you are in a letter writing mood.

    It is very clear to me that DOMA is unconstitutional due to conflicts with the Full Faith & Credit clause, the Equal Protection clause, and probably the Due Process clause. I don't want the SCOTUS to look at this until a few more of them are replaced.

    This is not the first time States Rights conflicted with Full Faith & Credit and it won't be the last.