‘history will be kind to this decision’

Walter Dellinger (The New Republic): I had thought that everything useful had already been said about the president’s determination that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) could no longer be defended. Then, I saw the statement by Newt Gingrich. He said that the Obama administration “didn’t understand the implication that having a president personally suspend a law is clearly unconstitutional” and urged Congress to defund the Office of the Attorney General unless the president reverses his decision.

That statement, from a leader possibly on the cusp of declaring his candidacy for the presidency, is so far off the mark that it calls out for additional clarification about exactly what the president and the attorney general did—and did not—do.

First, the president did not “suspend a law.” Far from it … (Details here) … he has decided to comply with the law and leave the final decision of its constitutionality to the courts, a course of action that respects the institutional roles of both Congress, which passed the law, and the judicial branch… …Obama’s decision was honest, transparent, and respectful of the rule of law….

It is easy to sit on the sidelines and say that the government should always “defend the law.” But those who would defend this law, perhaps including even the House leadership, will find that doing so requires them to argue that discrimination against individuals or couples on the basis of their sexual orientation is generally reflective of merit, not bias. The courts ought to hear that view from someone, but it should not be from this president and his law officers.

….make no mistake about the importance of what Attorney General Holder and President Obama have done: They have placed the executive branch of the government of the United States firmly behind the proposition that discrimination based on sexual orientation is wrong. History will be kind to this decision.

Read the full article here

3 Responses to “‘history will be kind to this decision’”

  1. March 2, 2011 at 10:18 am

    I am so proud of him for taking on a tough decision. Let the ultra conservatives scream, most folks are coming to accept homosexuality as a lifestyle not a sin.

    I think I will start a list of ways President Obama has supported the LBGT community. It might come in handy come election time.

    I came from a very small town in which this subject was not discussed. Having taught in Northern California for 25 years I have met many wonderful students who are gay. From my perspective, there is virtually no difference between the interaction and affection of a gay or straight family.

    In California there is a strong level of acceptance. Gov Schwarn(spelling) and Jerry Brown refused to prosecute the Prop 8 ban on gay marriage.

    As more and more of us come to know LGBT individuals, we figure out the y are people, just people.

  2. 2 sherijr
    March 2, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    Not only will history be kind… but someday they will write about this President as the beginning of America finally evolving beyond it’s ignorance.. and they will say that he was the beginning of the very best this country has to offer. It may take a while for some folks.. but it will happen. The bar has been set extremely high.

    • 3 Sue in Minnesota
      March 3, 2011 at 1:59 am

      I so ascribe to your theory. Whomever the President elected in 2016, they will have a very, very tough act to follow.

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