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Obama Administration’s Anti-Gay DOMA Memorandum In Review.

June 12, 2009 By: jaysays Category: LGBT News, Marriage Equality

ObamaReports are circulating about the Obama Administration’s recent comments in their “Memorandum of Points and Authorities in Support of Defendant United State’s of America’s Motion to Dismiss” filed in the Smelt case [Case 8:09-CV-00286-DOC-MLG in the United States District Court, Central District of California, Southern Division].  Some blogs are already reporting that the administration equates gay marriage to “incest and child marriage.”  However, after a review of the Memorandum, the reference to “incest” or “marrying children” relating to gay marriage is thus:

Wilkins v. Zelichowski, 140 A.2d 65, 67-68 (N.J. 1958) (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); In re Mortenson’s Estate, 316 P.2d 1106 (Ariz. 1957) (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”).

The citing of case law was used to show a states interest in marriage, but it is considered an affront by many in the LGBT community.

A copy of the Removal to Federal Court (with the Original Complaint attached) is available in PDF here.  It is important to note that the arguments made in the USA’s memorandum directly respond to the allegations made in the Complaint.  The following is a summary [as simplified as possible] of the United State’s response to the allegations made by Smelt:

  1. The Court Lacks Jurisdiction:  With this argument, the Defendant claims that because the case was removed from State Court, the Federal Court lacks jurisdiction.  This is a challenge to legal process, rather than directly related to DOMA.  It is interesting to note that the Defendant USA is the party that filed for removal of the action from the California Superior Court into the Federal Courts.  If the Court determines that it lacks jurisdiction, no other points need be argued.  The case will be dismissed.
  2. The Plaintiff’s Lack Standing: Generally speaking, standing under the law asks, does the party have sufficient stake in the controversy to bring a claim?  If the answer is “no” then the party has no grounds for the lawsuit and it must be dismissed.  Again, this is more procedural than with regard to DOMA specifically.  The allegations made by the good ole US of A are that the Plaintiffs’ do not “‘have plans to seek recognition of their . . . California marriage in another state’ … have not established an ‘imminent injury’ and ‘do not suggest that they have applied for any federal benefits, much less been denied any at this point.'”  As with jurisdiction, if the Court determines that Plaintiff lacks standing, no other points need be argued.  The case will be dismissed.
  3. DOMA Is a Valid Exercise of Congress’s Power under the Full Faith and Credit Clause:  The USA cites two factors as to why DOMA is not a violation of the Full Faith and Credit Clause being: (i) the Full Faith and Credit Clause “has never been construed to require one State to give absolute deference to another State’s laws in all circumstances; and (ii) because Congress is expressly empowered to prescribe “the Effect” of one state’s laws over another.
  4. DOMA Cannot Be Said to Violate an Asserted “Right to Travel”: The complaint filed by the Smiths does not specify what “Right to Travel” was denied under DOMA.  This could be a “standing” issue as well as they have not shown imminent harm from the policy.  It is obvious that DOMA does violate the Right to Travel; however, as the Federal government is responsible for issuing passports but will not recognize a name change as a result of a “same-sex marriage.”  Therefore, should a passport be issued in the “maiden name” of one spouse, their state issued ID will not match the passport.  This could potentially present problems with security checks, ticketing, hotel accommodations and customs when travelling abroad.  The name on the airline “ticket” must match the name on the identification being used.
  5. DOMA Is Consistent with Equal Protection and Due Process Principles:  Here, the USA argues our of both sides of its mouth, typical in such memorandum as an “in the alternative” sort of argument.  On one point, they argue that DOMA does not violate equal protection because, essentially, gay men can marry a woman.  They further argue that DOMA does not “prohibit gay and lesbian couples from marrying.”  Obviously, DOMA in and of itself does not prohibit gay and lesbian couples from marrying – however, they later admit that, “as a result of their same-sex marriage they will not become eligible for the set of benefits that Congress has reserved exclusively to those who are related by the bonds of heterosexual marriage,” effectively rendering the marriages moot in under DOMA.
  6. DOMA Does Not Violate the Right to Privacy: In this argument, the Court actually sites the pro-choice case, Roe v. Wade, which many of those opposed to marriage wish to be overthrown, which held, “only personal rights that can be deemed ‘fundamental’ or ‘implicit in the concept of ordered liberty,’ are included in this guarantee of personal privacy.”  Thus, the United States argues that marriage is not a fundamental right (fundamental right is a right that is implicit in the concept of ordered liberty, they are not two separate test questions).  Some examples of such fundamental rights upheld by courts include: (a) the common law right to self-defense; and (b) the protection of double jeopardy (which was originally found not to be a fundamental right, but later overturned).  There is a distinction between the concept of “Human Rights” and “Fundamental Rights.”  Of interest is the definition of fundamental right in the case, Duncan v. Louisiana, as: “[a right] necessary to an Anglo-American regime of ordered liberty.”
  7. DOMA Cannot Be Said to Infringe Upon any Rights of Speech:  It is widely judicially accepted that “conduct” cannot be considered speech unless it is “inherently expressive.”  The United States argues in the Memorandum that marriage is not inherently expressive and therefore cannot constitute speech.  However, is marriage “inherently expressive?”  To answer that question we can ask the question the Courts will ask to determine if conduct is “speech”: (a) Does the conduct in question convey a particularized message that would be understood by those who viewed it without consideration of the actual speech that accompanies the conduct?  Although the Courts have held that obtaining a marriage license does not constitute speech, using the test question, it seems that the act of marrying would constitute speech.  It is my opinion that there is no legitimate argument that the observer of a marriage ceremony would not understand the message being conveyed, even in the most narrow sense.  However, the United States disagrees claiming that a marriage ceremony does not constitute inherent expression.
  8. DOMA Cannot Be Said to Infringe Upon any “Right” under the Ninth Amendment:  The Ninth Amendment states, “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”  The United States argues in the memorandum that the Ninth Amendment does not provide for any right but is used for construction purposes.  It’s my opinion that they are correct in the interpretation of the Ninth Amendment because the concern at the time of ratification was that the “Bill of Rights” being listed would limit rights not otherwise enumerated.  Therefore, the Ninth Amendment’s intention was to prevent rights not listed from being diminished.  However, this means that rights to federal marriage benefits cannot be dismissed or diminished even though such rights are not enumerated in the Bill of Rights.

So that is the response of the Department of Justice to the Complaint, generally.  The question thus remains, “Is the memorandum, written by attorneys for the Department of Justice, on behalf of the United States of America, whose Chief Executive Officer is Barack Obama, the opinion of the President of the United States?”

The duty of the United States in these cases is to aggressively defend legislation unless such legislation is blatantly unconstitutional.  In the past, Obama has called DOMA ‘abhorrent’ and requested its repeal via legislative means.  However, a direct legislative assault on the federal court’s jurisdiction with regard to DOMA is underway via H.R. 1269 [A bill prohibiting the federal courts from hearings on the constitutionality of DOMA]  These mixed messages are exactly what is frustrating the lowly grass-roots activists while the major LGBT organizations sit back and take Obama’s advice, “Be patient.”

Well Mr. President, we have been patient.  We believed Bill Clinton and he pushed the Defense of Marriage Act and Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, we believed you and you requested the Supreme Court not hear challenges to Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.  We started believing in the United States again and the American dream only to have that faith stab us in the guts at the passage of Proposition 8, Amendment 2 and the countless other unconstitutional state bans on equality.  There is no time like the present to stand up with those who stood so strongly with you rather than take a “wait and see” attitude.

They have taken away our liberty to marry, they have challenged our pursuit of happiness, they have even taken many of our lives – but they cannot and shall not have our “HOPE.”

LGBT Notable News Happenings (May 18, 2009 – May 23, 2009)

May 25, 2009 By: MJ Category: LGBT News

LGBT NewsRodger McFarlane LGBT Activist Mourned (May 23, 2009)

Rodger McFarlane was a gay activist who set up the first AIDS hotline in 1981, using his own home phone and an answering machine. He went on to establish many other organizations and services to help those with AIDS.  In addition to being an activist, Mr. McFarlane was a very lively man and made seven over-ice expeditions to the North Pole.  Mark Thompson, a Los Angeles author, said, “He was one of those fantastically energetic, self-possessed visionary people who knew what had to be done.”  In 2002 Mr. McFarlane broke his back in an Eco-Challenge race and his health had been deteriorating since then.

CA School Agrees to Settlement (May 18, 2009)

A high school in the Vallejo Unified School District has agreed to pay a former student named Rochelle $25,000, and adopt new policies regarding bullying and prohibiting discrimination.  Sadly, the worst of the anti-gay harassment toward her came from one of the teachers at the school who ridiculed her by saying, “… she did not know whether she (Rochelle) was a boy or a girl.”  Other teachers at the high school also refused to let her into the girl’s locker room.  Rochelle now attends another high school.

Schools Block LGBT Web Sites (May 20, 2009)

The ACLU had been truly hoping to avoid taking court action against the Knox County and Nashville school systems.  Web sites specifically falling into the category of LGBT have been completely blocked from student access, but websites which are anti-LGBT or which promote so called LGBT “cures” are fully accessible.  A system was set up whereby the teachers would have been able to unlock the access to an LGBT web site for a student, but the student(s) would have been forced to “come out” to the teacher in order to request the access.

Report on Harvey Milk Censored by Principal (May 19, 2009)

Sixth-grader Natalie Jones was inspired after seeing the movie “Milk” and decided to write a report about his life and death for her class.  Instead Natalie’s presentation was stopped and she was sent to the office of her principal Theresa Grace.  The Principal of Mt. Woodson Elementary School decided that the sixth-grader’s report would require letters to parents notifying them of a lesson dealing with sex.  These letters offered the parents the option to decline to allow their children to participate in a “sex education” lesson.   The ACLU has responded.

New Lawsuit Filed Against DOMA (May 21, 2009)

The Defense of Marriage Act is being challenged again, hopefully with better results for all concerned.  Dean Hara, a widower, was married legally to former out gay US Congressman Gerry Studds, who died of a blood clot to his lung in October 2006.  Mr. Hara is still fighting for survivor benefits – which would not be a problem in the same circumstances for a survivor of a heterosexual marriage.  Several other widowers and couples are also involved in the newly filed lawsuit.  According to Laurence Tribe, a Harvard Law School professor, “It’s far from a slam dunk, but it’s a powerful and plausible case.”  Mr. Tribe is not involved in the lawsuit.

Love Matters More for Former San Angelo, Texas Mayor (May 21, 2009)

They met and got to know each other locally and then it turned into a beautiful relationship.  J.W. Lown and his partner did discover some difficulties and then the newly re-elected fourth term now former Mayor, and his partner, decided it was time for both of them to return to Mexico.  His partner is a citizen of Mexico and Mr. Lown has citizenship in both the U.S. and Mexico.  This is a beautiful story of love and immigration and working hard to follow the law.  For J.W. Lown it was a difficult decision to leave San Angelo, but to him some things do matter more than even a successful political career.

Swastika Used in Hate Crime at Home in Merced, CA (May 22, 2009)

Frances Martin had moved into her new home only a few days ago.  She decided to move in order to take care of her eight year old granddaughter while her own daughter is deployed in Iraq.  Ms. Martin’s son had just mowed the lawn when she realized something didn’t look right.  When she waked out to the sidewalk she was surprised to see a swastika burned into her lawn.  Ms. Martin and her family are African American.  The swastika is a white supremacist symbol, and an emblem of the German Nazi Party, which has been used both hatefully and violently against the LGBT community, African Americans, the Jewish people and other minority groups.  Ms Martin was simply looking for a safer place for her granddaughter.

Much Needed LGBT Center Now at San Jose State U. (May 22,2009)

Seven months ago San Jose State University opened the first center for LGBT students on the campus.  Larry Arzie and David Stonesifer graduated from SJSU back in the 1960’s at a time when there was no center for LGBT students to gather.  Back then, “… students who were wrestling with sexual identity were counseled to undergo psychiatric counseling.”  Fortunately that is no longer the case.  The successful couple, who have been living in Los Gatos, recently gave a very generous bequest to the new LGBT Center at SJSU which is their Alma Mater.

CA Supreme Court Set to Announce Decision (May 23, 2009)

The LGBT community and our allies throughout California and many other locations have been waiting and waiting for this decision.  On this coming Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. Pacific standard time the decision will be announced as well as posted on the web – the website link is included in the article.  Marc Solomon the marriage director of Equality California said, “We hope they rule the right way, but we are prepared to win marriage back at the ballot box.”

LGBT Lessons for Straight People: So Simple a Child “Gets” It

May 12, 2009 By: geekgirl Category: LGBT Lessons for Straight People

Gay Education [image edited from the public domain]Even straight people who support gay rights can struggle with what to tell their children about gay relationships. We’re barely comfortable talking about straight relationships. And for many straight people, sex is front and center, covering up the real person.

Let me tell you about my friend at work. Last fall, there was a movement to send postcards to Obama, asking him to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, DOMA. I bought forty postcards, addressed and stamped them, then sent an email to folks at work that I knew support gay rights. This is a dear friend. She comes to me and says “Tomorrow I will let you know how many postcards I need.” Ok.

The next day she comes in and says she needs three postcards. I’m curious so I ask her why.

She tells me that their family discussed this at dinner. She has a ten year old and six year old. She explained that in California, the judges gave everyone the right to marry. Boys could now marry boys and girls could now marry girls. She explained that love is so rare, so special and so priceless, that if you find love with someone and want to spend the rest of your life with them, that it doesn’t matter if they are a boy or a girl. And that we are born usually preferring one over the other. But then, there was an election and people voted to take that right away. She explained that it meant these people might not be married any more and if they had children, they might not be a family anymore under the law.

Her six year old son was outraged. He pounded on the table and said “You can’t take away some one’s family. You can’t take two people away from each other if they love each other. I want MY OWN POSTCARD.”

My postcards were all superhero postcards, and my selling line was “because if you are straight and support gay rights, you are a superhero.” She took Spiderman, her son’s favorite and let her son write his own message, in his six year old handwriting. At the bottom she wrote “My son is six. And he gets it.”

Children understand love and family instinctively. Because that is what makes them feel safe and secure. I wonder what the law would be if children made the rules. More so, what can we adults learn from them?

Stupid Things People Say About Gays: Gays Attempting to Obtain Privilege Nobody Else is Allowed

February 17, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Stupid Things People Say About Gays

In part 20 of my posts exposing the stupid things people say about gays, we will analyze the following comment as it related to the gay marriage debate:

It’s not about equal rights. It’s about homosexuals obtaining a privilege that nobody else is allowed to have. Colorblind people are expected to accept red as red, green as green, and yellow as yellow. If they don’t have the capacity to see it that way, it’s nobody else’s problem. It’s their lot in life. Nobody is depriving them of their right to see. Same with homosexuals. Hemaun (a 36 y/o vlogger and religious zealot)

First, I’m going to talk about the comment, “It’s about homosexuals obtaining a privilege that nobody else is allowed to have.”  As a long time resident of Texas, USA, Earth, I know with certainty that no one has ever been allowed to marry except the homosexual.  In the United States, homosexuals already receive numerous privileges that are denied to everyone else, like marriage, adoption rights, 401K benefits from a spouse, Social security death benefits, etc…etc…etc…  Those privileges are provided gladly by our government to homosexuals, but no one else… they are exclusive to us. (Note the sarcasm?).  It is relevant to note that same-gender couples can, and often do, “marry” in a religious ceremony sanctioned by the church they attend.  Such is just not recognized by law.  It is the law denying recognition that is at the core of the issue.

Colorblind people are expected to accept red as red, green as green, and yellow as yellow. If they don’t have the capacity to see it that way, it’s nobody else’s problem.”  Wow, how myopic (pun intended).  I’ll have to use that argument against the fundamentalist Christians, that they are like Colorblind people and they just have to accept the fact that their anger, disillusionment, invocation of fear, bigotry and hatred is why the religion is dying.  I find it ironic that he uses such a very poor metaphor to say one group should just accept themselves and not try to force a belief on another when the group in which you are a part has been and continues to do just that!  Again, I say: How many gays have showed up at your door asking you to be gay?

Why DOMA was Actually a Pro-Gay Move.

February 12, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Commentary, Thought of the Gay

I recently read the article “The Land of the Till Murder” written by an African American author in 1956 for Ebony magazine.  I was so moved by the words of the author, I thought I would share them:

So he fights integration on every level, puts up more and bigger white-colored signs, enacts more laws, writes new ones when these are found unconstitutional, forms more economic pressure groups, boards more bullets, taps more phones, listens to more speeches painting the “horrors” of integration.

And the tension rises, thickens, tightens, until the grip of it is agony and something must be done to relieve it and sometimes the relief is found in violence. — Ebony (April 1956): 91–96; By Clotye Murdock.

I felt as though articles I’ve read or even written more recently mimicked the words of Clotye Murdock.  Each time LGBT people are successful on one law, another is passed that reads “differently” in order to fit the requirements of the constitution, then that law is deemed unconstitutional by the Courts and another law is put into place.

In the mid-1990’s, it appeared that Hawaii would become the first state in the United States to recognize same-gender marriage.  The fundamentalists began screaming for the Federal government to do something before we fell into a horrible pattern of sin (similar to the argument against racial integration).  Pressure was on for an amendment to the United States Constitution.  Clinton then did something that enraged LGBT people; he signed the Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”) into law.  Although obviously an unconstitutional action, DOMA remains in full force and effect today (with the small exception of an Internal Court Order of the 9th Circuit deeming it “unconstitutional”).  In spite of this, DOMA may be considered the smartest pro-gay action of any president.

I can hear it now: how can you consider DOMA to be “pro-gay”?  What sort of activist would say such a thing?  Frankly, at the time DOMA was passed it was VERY likely that the United States would ratify an amendment to the Constitution banning gay marriage.  Such Amendments, although repealable, are much more difficult to pass and even more difficult to repeal.  In fact, to repeal the constitutional amendment, ratification of an Amendment repealing it would have been required.  Such ratification of a Constitutional Amendment to repeal a Constitutional Amendment banning gay marriage would require either a 2/3 votes of the legislature (2/3 House, 2/3 Senate) and acceptance by the state legislatures or a Constitutional Convention [which has never been used to amend the U.S. Constitution].  With DOMA, we can argue the case in Court and the Court’s have power to repeal it without the super-majority requirement.  This is not to say that the laws provided for in DOMA are in any way, pro-gay; however, the repeal of DOMA will certainly be an easier hurdle than a repeal of a Constitutional Amendment.

What I’ve Learned Thus Far – The Nationwide DOMA Protest (cont.)

January 12, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Community Outreach, LGBT Action Alerts

After my last  post describing my adventures in downtown San Antonio while attempting to gather signatures to the Open Letter to Obama, I took to the streets again.  It was about 10:30 p.m. when I, along with three others, pulled into the parking lot near a local gay bar.  The crowds were coming at full force and we could have used several more people to try to obtain everyone’s signatures.  It was windy and cold, but our reception was warm and tender… for the most part.

We split into two groups of two people, each with pads of signature pages, the letter and pens.  As people walked toward the clubs, we would stop them and ask for their support.  Many were anxious to get inside into a warmer climate, but those that took time to hear us out were grateful for our involvement and some offered their stories.  One kindly gentleman took a look at the letter and advised me that it hit very close to home for him as he had lost his job due to his sexual orientation.  He told me about his lawsuit and how difficult it was for him.  We discussed the Tennessee man who was recently fired for his sexual orientation as well.  I learned that, in spite of my very comfortable and supportive employment, I wasn’t immune from the reality of sexual orientation discrimination in my own employment.  After our conversation, he thanked me for what I was doing.  It was a very touching experience and I learned that in my zeal to make a difference, I must not forget compassion.

I then spoke with two ladies who were members of our military and serving under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (“DADT”).  We discussed the policy and the efforts to revoke it – and the likelihood that the Obama Administration will do away with the discriminatory policy [at 4:15].  I then inquired as to the murmurs I’ve heard from other military personnel that DADT protects LGBT soldiers from discrimination and aggressive acts by other members of the military.  They were stunned by the representation and completely disagreed with the argument.  They did state, in summary, that lower ranking military members may feel that way, but the truth of the matter was that the DADT was not a protection but a discriminatory policy.  I learned that we must continue to work to repeal DADT and hold the Administration accountable should it remain in effect.

Many LGBT people have made several comments that the African American community is not supportive of LGBT rights and issues.  While working the streets downtown, we approached three African American ladies in a group.  They had a small child with them.  They listened to us and reviewed the letter.  As one of them read the letter, she saw the portion which requested that DOMA be repealed and said, “That’s what I wanted to see.”  She grabbed the pen, pointed it out to her friends and they all anxiously signed the letter. Overall, the “group” that was seemingly the most responsive and most interested in the issue was the African American population.  Not one African American we approached refused to sign the petition.  One of the ladies was wearing a shirt that said, “All we need is love.”  That is what I learned from them.

I noticed that many of the younger people had no interest in signing the petition, even young LGBT people at the clubs.  Most were in too big of a hurry to meet up with their friends inside or stated things such as “I’m not political”.  The older generation (late 20’s and above) seemed much more receptive and had many stories to tell about things that have happened to them.  I learned that, until it happens to you, you probably won’t care too much about it.  I also learned that I miss the ignorant bliss of youth.

Many of the LGBT people I spoke with had never heard of DOMA and required a bit of a history lesson on the subject.  I learned from them that we have a lot of educating to do of our own community.

Some of the more trivial things I learned were: that when it is cold outside, you should wear gloves even if you don’t think you need them; when people have to “pee” you shouldn’t ask them to sign a petition, even though you have no access to a restroom and have had to go for over an hour; that you can never have too many pens; and that people wear too much cologne to the clubs.

Perhaps the most defining thing I learned was that I am s till frightened.  I thought I had overcome my fear of reactionary people and what they may do to me as a gay man, but instead of being the strong, self-assured person I thought I was, I was shaking inside everytime I approached a heterosexual couple and asked them to support LGBT equality.  In that I learned that I was “heterophobic” by the strictist definition.

How I Scare Lesbians – The Nationwide DOMA Protest

January 10, 2009 By: jaysays Category: Community Outreach, LGBT Action Alerts

The National DOMA Protest was conducted today.  I made it to the rally point and met up with the handful of people that showed up.  With letters in hand we took to the streets of San Antonio and began asking for signatures.

After approaching many presumably heterosexual people and a few people who declared their homosexuality, I noticed a lesbian couple (complete with hand holding) and approached them and asked whether or not they would sign the petition to support gay rights and repeal DOMA.  I was flabbergasted when they told me firmly, “no.”  I was so flabbergasted that I didn’t even say my typical, “thank you anyway, have a beautiful day” or any other nicety.  I just stood their – staring blankly.  Two of the people obtaining signatures with me were standing nearby.  I turned and saw their puzzled looks as well.

The night before, I took to the streets handing out fliers near the local “gay” district.  As I approached a group of presumably lesbian women in front of a local gay bar, I attempted to disarm them with a big smile, a pink piece of paper, the lesbian friend nearby and a huge “Hi!”  They scattered.  I turned to one and said, “Would you like to participate in the DOMA protest tomorrow to support gay rights?”  She rolled her eyes at me and said, “no… thank you,” in what was likely the most condescending tone anyone has ever spoken to me in.  The one remaining woman was likely humoring me with her “interest.”  Ultimately, it became clear she had no intention of attending.

But, not all was lost.  An adorable couple and their little girl (roughly 5 or 6 years old) stopped to sign the letter and talk with us.  While her parents were reviewing the letter, the little girl was asking all sorts of questions to her parents about what we were doing.  She was trying to read the letter her mother was holding and said, “Is that so gay people can get married?”  Her mother responded with a yes and the little girl says, “FINALLY!”  My heart glowed with joy.

In a conversation with another couple (also adorable) I began my speech about the first section of DOMA and how it violates Article IV Sec. I of the U.S. Constitution and that even its author, Bill Barr, supports its repeal.  After talking for several a couple of minutes, the young lady looks at me and says, “Can you dumb this down a bit?”  We shared a laugh and I advised its generally in support of “gay marriage” and hate crimes legislation.  Her husband (or boyfriend) said, “If I sign this does it mean I have to marry someone of the same sex.”  I quickly advised him, “No.  But if your interested I do know some people.”

Over all, the experience was positive – for me, it was an excercise in confidence.  Each time I approached someone I was essentially coming out of the closet all over again.  The most negative response received that I’m aware of was “God doesn’t like homosexuals.”  I wasn’t there at the time, but I’m sure I would have simply asked, “Does God like chocolate?”  Just to find out if they knew the answer.

Author of DOMA Says It Has to Go

January 06, 2009 By: jaysays Category: LGBT News, Marriage Equality

Bill Barr, former libertarian party presidential hopeful and author of the Defense of Marriage Act, published an opinion in the Las Angeles times declaring that President-Elect Barack Obama is right, DOMA has to go.  In his story, Barr goes on to explain that DOMA violates the principles of federalism and its impact is not limited to Federal law as intended.  Barr then states:

So the first part of DOMA was crafted to prevent the U.S. Constitution’s ‘full faith and credit’ clause.

As one of the people responsible for writing DOMA, I find this statement remarkably telling as it clearly indicates that the purpose of the Defense of Marriage Act was to void a section of the U.S. Constitution [Article IV, Section 1], which decrees that independent states within the Union must respect the “public acts, records, and judicial rulings” of other states.  Ordinarily, acts of Constitutional “adjustment” are done by Amendments, which are much more difficult to obtain than legislative acts.

Mr. Barr’s commentary comes just in time for the January 10, 2009 National DOMA Protest.

To read Mr. Barr’s full opinion piece, click here.