DOMAThe Defense of Marriage Act, which bans same-sex marriage in California, is scheduled to storm the Supreme Court in one month. Several news outlets are reporting that the Obama administration is mulling a possible submission to the court in opposition to the bill. Hollingsworth v. Perry will be argued before the highest court in the land on March 26, so the White House has until Feb. 28 to submit a “friend-of-the-court” brief.

President Obama has affirmed his support of same-sex couples throughout the end of his first term and the beginning of his second. He made history when used the word “gay” for the first time ever in an Inaugural Address and has continued rallying for the rights of gay, lesbian and transgender couples in stump speeches. Submitting a brief aligns with President Obama’s second term agenda and will reflect the consensus of 48 percent of the nation’s population; this is the percentage of Americans in favor of gay marriage according to the Pew Research Center.

Though President Obama’s public support of same-sex couples is admirable, will he submit briefs for all legal onslaughts against civil rights? The White House has remained mum on other challenges to laws, bills and initiatives that challenge white privilege in social institutions. The Supreme Court is will hear arguments in Fisher v. University of Texas, which can demolish the foundation of affirmative action, and Shelby County v. Holder, which aims to remove some key components of the Voting Rights Act.

We recognize that President Obama is the leader of the whole United States and not just minority populations. But if he submits a brief to one case concerning civil rights, he should mirror this action in those with as much potential impact as Fisher v. University of Texas and Shelby County v. Holder.

Zettler Clay eloquently states his piece “Blacks’ Voting Rights Face Big Test,” “In the realm of politics, vicious vestiges of our past still confront us. If Jim Crow took a blow in the executive branch, his grip in the judicial and legislative branches still holds firm.” So like President Johnson in 1965, President Obama must see the danger and address it.

Do you think President Obama will speak out for affirmative action and the Voting Rights Act?

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  • Shanti

    Please get your facts straight and stop spreading false information. The defense of marriage act (DOMA) is a federal act signed in the 90s and is the reason the federal government does by recognize state sanctioned same-sex marriages. It has nothing to do with why same-sex marriage is prohibited in California. That was Prob 8. A lawsuit was filed regarding the prop 8 decision and the supreme course will be hearing the case.

    The title of your article is misleading with regards to the point of your article. I guess our point is if the administration intervenes in one civil rights issue , should they do so for all? I say no.

    • You are exactly right and I just made the same comment on the Facebook page about this. This article is extremely off on the facts.

  • Shanti

    In addition, the brief was files regarding a different case that actually does involve DOMA about a same-sex couple who married in Canada and when one person does the surviving person had to pay estate taxes they they would not have had to in the federal government recognized their marriage. The case is called Windsor vs. THE UNITED STATES. Therefore, it makes complete sense for the administration to intervene on a case that is against them. These other cases are not and should be handles in manner that is neutral to both parties. The President taking sides before the courts hear the case would undermine their authority. I understand all these cases are about civil rights but the situation is the reason for a different response.

  • Shanti

    There are other major issues with this article. The brief submitted by the Obama Administration is actually for the other same-sex marriage case in front of the Supreme Court called Windsor vs. THE UNITED STATES. This case is actually about DOMA unlike the CA case mentioned in the article. Two Lesbians were married in Canada and when one passed away the surviving party was subject to taxes they would not have had to play if DOMA prohibited the federal government from recognizing their marriage. SInce the USA is the party the case is against it makes sense for the administration to speak out against the legislation that was used that Obama has said he does not support. The Voters Rights case and Affirmative Action case are not against the USA so it would set a bad precedent for the administration to pick sides before the Supreme Court can hear the case. It does not make sense to compare all these cases simply because they are all about civil rights.

  • Shanti is dead on. This article does not present to facts accurately and conflates several issues in same-sex marriage. I will not repeat what she said above (which was totally correct) but I will say that DOMA, legalized same-sex marriafe, and the banning of same-sex marriage rights are all very very different topics.

    DOMA was passed on Clinton. Same-sex marriage is currectly legal in many states including Maryland, Washington State, and Maine. But DOMA limits their spousal rights at the federal level.

    Prop. 8 has been contested since its passing in 2008 but is not related to these other issues. Please review the facts before post such misleading information in the future. This is a really great publication but this particular article requires a great deal more research