Obama, Proclaiming LGBT Pride Month, Pushes Repeal of Defense of Marriage Act
June 2, 2010Citing his commitment to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), President Obama on Friday issued a proclamation declaring June 2010 'Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month.'
The president also emphasized his intention to secure “adoption rights” for same-sex couples and end both employment discrimination against LGBT individuals as well as the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) compromise that bars homosexuals from serving openly in the military.
This is the second year that President Obama has declared June LGBT Pride Month, but it is the first time he has used the proclamation to call for repeal of DOMA.
“We see again president Obama trying to walk a tightrope on the marriage issue,” said Peter Sprigg, a senior fellow with Family Research Council. Obama “says we must give committed gay couples the same rights and responsibilities afforded to any married couple and repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, [but] he doesn’t say right out that we should change the definition of marriage,” Sprigg noted.
Although Obama has said he does not favor same-sex marriage, “every policy he supports is designed to undermine the traditional definition of marriage or undermine the uniqueness of marriage as the union between a man and a woman. So I think we just see again the inherent contradiction in President Obama’s position in the same-sex marriage issue,” Sprigg said.
Andrea Lafferty, executive director of the Traditional Values Coalition, told CNSNews.com, “We have a nation that’s facing great unemployment, and economic crisis” as well as the flooding in Nashville and the Gulf oil spill, “and what is the president pushing? Gay transgender stuff and gays in the military, when Americans don’t care about any of this. These are not priorities…. But they’ve been pushed ahead of dealing with the economy, pushed ahead of dealing with the Gulf disaster.”
“It doesn’t come as a surprise to me,” said Lafferty, “because [the president] clearly stated his support for gay marriage, clearly stated his support for gays in the military, for pushing the so-called Employment Non-Discrimination Act and so-called hate crimes. I think a lot of people who voted for him aren’t aware of some of these positions.”
Evan Wolfson, executive director of Freedom to Marry, lauded the president’s proclamation in a statement sent to CNSNews.com: “President Obama is right when he says that 'we must give committed gay couples the same rights and responsibilities' as any couple -- and that includes the freedom to marry.”
According to Wolfson, “Couples who have made a commitment in life should have an equal commitment under the law, with the same rules, same responsibilities, and same respect. In America we believe in treating others as we'd want to be treated. The government should not discriminate when it comes to who can get a marriage license.”
The president’s proclamation states in part, “Much work remains to fulfill our Nation's promise of equal justice under law for LGBT Americans. That is why we must give committed gay couples the same rights and responsibilities afforded to any married couple, and repeal the Defense of Marriage Act.”
When it passed in 1996, DOMA had bipartisan support in both the House and Senate. It passed the House on a vote of 342-67 with 120 Democrats voting for it. In the Senate, DOMA passed 85-14, with 32 Democrat backers.
Obama’s proclamation also says, “We must protect the rights of LGBT families by securing their adoption rights, ending employment discrimination against LGBT Americans, and ensuring Federal employees receive equal benefits… I am also committed to ending "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" so patriotic LGBT Americans can serve openly in our military…”
Regarding adoption rights, Sprigg pointed to “an abundance of social science research that shows that children do best when raised by biological mother and father who are committed to each other in a lifelong marriage.”
Because of this, Sprigg says, “There should be a strong preference, if not an outright requirement, that children be placed with a married mother and father in order to give them that male and female role model, which is so important for their development.”
Both Sprigg and Lafferty said the president’s LGBT agenda will trample states’ rights. Sprigg noted that adoption is a state matter, and that any federal law probably would conflict with the laws of several states.
Likewise, Lafferty noted that the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) “will override the laws of 38 states, telling school districts that they must comply and hire transgender individuals, and it will be illegal to reassign them.”
Last year’s proclamation commemorated the 40th anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York City, which many activists consider the start of the “gay rights” movement. And while last year’s presidential proclamation included similar language regarding adoption rights and ending employment discrimination and DADT, the 2009 proclamation made no mention of DOMA.
President Obama’s 2010 proclamation, issued on the Friday before the long Memorial Day weekend, says, “As we honor the LGBT Americans who have given so much to our Nation, let us remember that if one of us is unable to realize full equality, we all fall short of our founding principles.”
Because it is lower priority on the Democrat Party’s agenda than DADT and ENDA, Sprigg doesn’t believe legislation to repeal DOMA will come up this year.