Grappling . . . Grappling . . . I’ll Let You Know: Obama Remains Undecided on Gay Marriage

Some of us have raised objections for the last two years on President Obama’s conflicting positions on gay rights. Now, White House Spokesman Jay Carney was able to nail down concretely the President’s position on gay marriage: he is still “grappling” with it.

The President’s position on gay rights have been so conflicted as to be incomprehensible. For two years, his Administration opposed challenges to the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy by adopting extreme arguments that denied arguments of constitutional protections based on sexual orientation and insisting that the military had the right to discharge people solely because they are known to be gay or lesbian. Notably, the Administration has always opposed claims that sexual orientation should be afforded the same type of protection as gender.

This week, Obama switched his position on DOMA and decided that, after two years of defending the law, his Administration would no longer argue for its constitutionality. Critics noted that this decision seemed driven more by politics than principle since the Administration waited until after the mid-term elections to take the position on the constitutional issue.

Holder’s explanation for switching sides was forced and unconvincing. He notably, however, did not endorse arguments for added constitutional protections akin to gender. Instead, he focused entirely on the lowest rational basis test.

In his statement, Carney would only say that Obama viewed the Defense of Marriage Act as “unnecessary and unfair.” However, the White House refused to say that this was a recognition of the right to same-sex marriage. It is just “unnecessary and unfair.” That puts same-sex marriage in the same category of other “unnecessary” acts like some redundant farm subsidy or denial of ERISA benefits.

The message may seem confusing and jumbled but it is not. The Administration does not accept that gays and lesbians have a constitutional right to marriage. It is only if you reject the constitutional claim that you are left like Hamlet on the Potomac — “grappling” with whether to recognize same-sex marriage as a matter of fairness . . . or politics.

Source: Yahoo

Jonathan Turley

85 thoughts on “Grappling . . . Grappling . . . I’ll Let You Know: Obama Remains Undecided on Gay Marriage”

  1. Obama may be grappling with the idea of gay marriage–but his administration certainly has taken a stand on whistleblowers and is going after them very aggressively. Read the following article by Glenn Greenwald at Salon:

    The DOJ’s creeping war on whistle-blowers
    http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/

    Excerpt:
    Those pretty words have given way to the most aggressive crusade to expose, punish and silence “courageous and patriotic” whistleblowers by any President in decades. As the Federation of American Scientists’ Steven Aftergood put it, “They’re going after this at every opportunity and with unmatched vigor.” And last May, The New York Times described how “the Obama administration is proving more aggressive than the Bush administration in seeking to punish unauthorized leaks.” This war has entailed multiple indictments and prosecutions of Bush-era leaks which exposed various degrees of corruption, ineptitude and illegality. And, of course, the Obama administration’s preoccupation with destroying WikiLeaks — which has led it to boast of efforts to prosecute the group for publishing classified information (which other media outlets do every day), target WikiLeaks supporters with invasive harassment, and even subpoena the Twitter accounts of several WikiLeaks associates, including a sitting member of the Icelandic Parliament — has been well-documented.

    But it’s the DOJ’s increasing willingness to target journalists as part of this crusade that has now escalated its seriousness. Last month, the DOJ claimed it had found and arrested Risen’s source: Jeffrey Sterling, a former CIA agent who left the agency in 2002 (he now works in the health insurance industry). As part of Sterling’s criminal proceedings, it was revealed yesterday that federal investigators had secretly obtained Risen’s bank records, information about his phone and travel activities, and even credit reports to unearth his source:

    Federal investigators trying to find out who leaked information about a CIA attempt to disrupt Iran’s nuclear program obtained a New York Times reporter’s three private credit reports, examined his personal bank records and obtained information about his phone calls and travel, according to a new court filing.

    The scope and intrusiveness of the government’s efforts to uncover reporter James Risen’s sources surfaced Thursday in the criminal case of James Sterling, a former CIA officer facing federal criminal charges for allegedly disclosing classified information. . . . The revelation alarmed First Amendment advocates, particularly in light of Justice Department rules requiring the attorney general to sign off on subpoenas directed to members of the media and on requests for their phone records.

    First Amendment advocates said the Justice Department’s use of business records to find out about Risen’s sources was troubling. Those records, they argue, could potentially expose a wide array of Risen’s sources and confidential contacts — information that might fall beyond the initial investigation that led to Sterling’s indictment . . .

    “To me, in many ways, it’s worse than a direct subpoena,” said Jane Kirtley, a University of Minnesota law professor and former director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. “Third-party subpoenas are really, really invidious. . . . Even if it is targeted, even if they’re trying to just look at the relevant stuff, they’re inevitably going to get material that exposes other things.”

    Kirtley also said journalists often aren’t notified when the government asks telecom companies, banks or other service providers for their records.

    Covertly obtaining and then digging through the phone, banking, and travel records of journalists is about as extreme a step as can be taken in trying to detect and punish whistleblowers. By itself, the chilling effect on a free press is substantial and obvious — what whistleblowers would speak to reporters if they know their most private records can be so easily invaded by the Government? — and the invasion of privacy which a journalist has to endure for doing his job is immense.

    But what makes this conduct particularly indefensible is how the Obama DOJ is venturing back into the past to dredge up these forgotten episodes. Sterling hasn’t worked for the Government or had a security clearance in more than 8 years. The alleged leak took place in Bush’s first term. Disclosure resulted in substantial embarrassment for the U.S. but — given the utter failure of the operation — no identifiable national security harm.

  2. RE: Homophobic Messenger, February 25, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    Homophobic Messenger says,

    Jill is back. She is a quack. She makes me sick and causes me a heart attack. Oh why can’t we have our beloved Bryon back. She is a hack who better watch her words when she attacks.

    I see you have another fool by the name of Brian. He is no brain, his you know were splattered by a train. Just to read the dribble that he posts is a waste of time. I think I’ll call Hazmat and have them make a visit to his place. He is such a fool, it would be funny to just sit and watch him drool.

    There are just so many people here that I take offense at. Right now I have to get back to my patients. Take care.

    ##################################

    Dr. Abraham A. Low, “If my patients had patience, I would not have patients.”

  3. Smom/Elaine,

    I think I sat behind that guy in Contracts! lol

    In fact, I know I did. We went to lunch one day, his invite, and I got to listen to all about how he could get me in several secret societies if he wanted to and about how hooked up his dad was. Let’s just say it was the last time I accepted an invitation from him.

  4. i was checking my list of recorded shows looking for something to watch and i see there’s a jon stewart from wednesday with donald rumsfeld. don’t think i’m ready for that one right now.

  5. Slarts,
    I have no problem with an impeachment of Obama because he has not committed any high crimes or misdemeanors. Now, admitting to the authorization of torture is a felony and I think George W. and Dick Cheney have admitted to that felony in writing and on TV.

  6. S M

    Well, there you go. Everyone who is unhappy with Obama now has a way to get rid of him. Put your money where your comments are – send it to Newt. Maybe we won’t have to wait for 2012 after all – and Biden will be so much better.

    McCain/Palin would never have done all this unconstitutional stuff. Oh, had we only known.

  7. rafflaw,

    I’ll all for attempting to impeach President Obama, but not until AFTER we’ve prosecuted President Bush and Dick the War Criminal…

  8. SM,
    I did see that story about Newt. He is already making great efforts to walk back from those comments! I say I have no problem with them trying to impeach Obama on this issue and then we can prosecute Bush and Cheney for torture.

  9. Hmmm, no link, address or embed from YouTube, works for me now, did 5 tests and they just did not show up, didn’t even show up as a link. weird.

  10. I’ve been having trouble embedding youtube videos in the past few days myself. Lottakatz told me to repost a link starting with “http.” I just copied and pasted the highlighted part of the link that Swarthmore mom posted.

  11. Elaine,
    That video was outstanding. I have to show it to my daughter who graduated in May and has been working temp legal jobs!

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