Friday, April 15, 2011

DOMA is Cruel, Discriminatory, and Unconstitutional

Here’s Rep. Jerry Nadler’s opening statement. Nadler has introduced the “Respect for Marriage Act,” a bill that would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act.

DOMA is immoral, because it is (as is all bigotry against LGBTQ people) based on irrational hatred of a minority group within society. It is immoral because it unjustly targets, stigmatizes and penalizes same sex couples. It does this with an obstinate and cavalier disregard for both the findings of science and the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Representative succinctly drives home this point as he quotes from the Congressional Record and explains the bigotry that motivated legislators to enact this law. As Rep. Nadler said,

“The Congressional record makes perfectly clear, that DOMA is intended to express moral disapproval of gay men, lesbians and their families. Representative Henry Hyde, then Chairman of this Committee, for example declared, “Most people do not approve of homosexual conduct and they express their disapprobation through [enactment of] the law [DOMA].” During floor debate of the law representatives expressed disapproval of homosexuality as being immoral, or depraved and argued that allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry would demean and trivialize heterosexual marriage and might prove to be, “The final blow against the American family.”

This evidence of the intent of the law being to discriminate against a specific group of people, based on prejudice against them, or disapproval of that group, on pure animus [hatred against them] is presumptive evidence of denial of Equal Protection [the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution] and of the need for Heightened Scrutiny. The Administration so concluded and that conclusion compelled the determination that the law [DOMA] could never survive Heightened Scrutiny and therefore could not be defended as to its constitutionality.”

Representative Nadler specifically used the term “immoral” in describing DOMA and by implication, the intent of legislators who enacted this immoral law. I believe that Rep. Nadler is both correct and temperate in his statements regarding DOMA. Nadler joins Federal Judges, such Walker, Senators, members of Congress, and even Republican former California Governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, in their opposition to bigoted laws like DOMA and Prop 8.

Proponents of such bigoted laws are unable to offer any compelling reason for denying military service, marriage, and employment non-discrimination protection to LGBTQ people. Their political obstruction of such Civil Rights for LGBTQ human beings stem not from reason, but from hatred, ignorance and fear. Their segregation of LGBTQ people is not, as they claim, motivated out of a desire to “protect marriage, or children,” but out of hatred for a minority group who they intensely dislike and which they want to force to be like them, or at least invisible.

1 comment:

Tal said...

You alluded to "hatred" and "segregation." I believe these two words perfectly describe the prejudice LGBTQ people confront. Typical of the mindless position of racists during segregation (or those arguing the world is only 6,000 years old), no argument, no matter how logical or well supported, is sufficient to dissuade. And when the courts make a decision contrary to majority prejudice, it's because the presiding judge is evil, an atheist, a Christian hater, or some other epithet.

The fact remains that Judge Walker in particular, in a very carefully written Order and Opinion striking down California's Prop 8, carefully articulated the reason why laws like DOMA cannot stand under our Constitution. (Judge Walker's final ruling followed a detailed factual hearing where both parties had every opportunity to present any argument and item of evidence they wished. The bottom line is that the government, despite its best efforts, was incapable of suggesting a rational reason to support the second class status of homosexuals under Prop 8.)

The record is clear that those supporting laws like DOMA almost exclusively come from a conservative religious perspective. The state, however, is forbidden, under the First Amendment, to utilize the means of government to "establish" religion.

The 14th Amendment guarantees equal protection, which means equal treatment under law. Period.