The Washington Post reports:
President Obama made clear that he favors the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act [DOMA], and intends to ask Congress to repeal the 13-year-old law that denies benefits to domestic partners of federal employees and allows states to reject same-sex marriages performed in other states.
Obama has long opposed the law, which he has called discriminatory. But his Justice Department has angered the gay community, which favored Obama by a wide margin in last year’s election, by defending the law in court. The administration has said it is standard practice for the Justice Department to do so, even for laws that it does not agree with.
For the first time, the filing itself made clear that the administration “does not support DOMA as a matter of policy, believes that it is discriminatory, and supports its repeal.”
Obama and his senior advisers have made that statement before, but never in a court brief. In addition, Obama issued a statement noting that, although his administration is again defending DOMA in court, “this brief makes clear…that my administration believes the act is discriminatory and should be repealed by Congress.”
“While we work with Congress to repeal DOMA, my administration will continue to examine and implement measures that will help extend rights and benefits to LGBT couples under existing law,” Obama said in the statement.
Obama extends a few partner benefits to lesbian and gay federal employees
Jennifer Chrisler [left] sent an email to members of Family Equality Council to describe her experience in the Oval Office with President Obama. She was present when he signed a Presidential Memorandum – extending certain domestic partner benefits to federal employees.
She writes: “All American families face challenges, but our families encounter unique obstacles when trying to protect our children and our partners. The language in this memo signed by President Obama addresses some of those complex realities,” Chrisler said. “President Obama’s actions will help thousands of committed, same-sex couples working for the federal government ensure their families’ security. While today’s memorandum falls short, it does move us forward. There is much more work to be done to recognize the wide diversity of families that live and work in this country, including families with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender parents. I look forward to continuing to work with the Administration in the future as it takes the next steps to ensure equal protection and treatment of all American families.”
Barack Obama’s message to lesbian and gay parents
“We have to do more to support and strengthen LGBT families. Because equality in relationship, family, and adoption rights is not some abstract principle; it’s about whether millions of LGBT Americans can finally live lives marked by dignity and freedom.” – Barack Obama
Civil rights blogger – Jamie Citron – has posted an exchange between Jennifer Chrisler, Executive Director of the Family Equality Council, and Barack Obama.
Chrisler wrote to Obama because of Senator McCain’s recent confusing comments on LGBT adoption. She asked about a “plan to recognize, respect, protect and celebrate all of the loving families you seek to represent…”
Here’s part of Obama’s response: “We know that the cost of the American dream must never come at the expense of the American family. For decades we’ve had politicians in Washington who talk about family values, but we haven’t had policies that value families.”
You can visit Barack Obama’s website, and read the entire exchange.
Newest poll results: Majority of Americans support civil unions for lesbian and gay couples
ABC News is reporting that 55 percent of U.S. voters favor allowing same sex couples to form legally recognized civil unions – providing the same rights as heterosexual married couples in health insurance, inheritance and pension coverage.
This is an increase from 45 percent in an ABC/Washington Post poll in 2006. The previous high was 51 percent in 2004.
All leading Democratic presidential candidates support civil unions – and Rudy Giuliani is the only Republican candidate to side with the idea.
The most recent ABC/Post poll also found that more people under 30-years-old support civil unions when compared to seniors.
Support is highest in the East and West – and much lower in the Midwest and South. Caucasians are more likely than African Americans to support civil unions. And women are more favorable towards the idea (59 percent) than men (51 percent, and 47 percent among married men).