In case you happen to have slept through the day yesterday, President Obama made civil rights history by coming out in support of full marriage equality. It was a watershed moment for our country and the LGBT movement.
But in a crass and cynical move, House Republicans used the occasion of yesterday’s presidential announcement to approve an anti-gay amendment to a piece of Commerce-Justice-Science appropriations legislation. Because they want you to know that regardless of what the President does, they still really, really despise Teh Gay.
From the Washington Blade:
The U.S. House voted late Wednesday night in favor of a measure that aims to stop the Obama administration from taking any action in violation of the Defense of Marriage Act — even though the administration continues to enforce the law.
In a 245-171 vote, House lawmakers approved the amendment, introduced by freshman Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kansas), as part of Commerce-Justice-Science appropriations legislation. The amendment reads, “None of the funds made available under this Act, may be used in contravention of the Defense of Marriage Act.”
Ian Thompson, legislative representative for the American Civil Liberties Union, said the amendment in effect does nothing because although the Justice Department is no longer defending DOMA in court, the Obama administration is still enforcing it.
“The Huelskamp Amendment is a solution in search of a problem,” Thompson said. “While there are multiple legal challenges to DOMA working their way through the federal courts, it is still binding. This amendment serves absolutely no purpose other than to score political points at the expense of gay and lesbian couples.”
After the Obama administration declared DOMA unconstitutional, the Justice Department filed legal briefs against the anti-gay law and sent Justice Department attorneys to argue against the statute in court during oral arguments. However, the administration continues to enforce the statute, which prohibits federal recognition of same-sex marriage.
According to Roll Call newspaper, Huelskamp had initially planned an amendment that would barred the use of funds for arguing against DOMA in court — which, if passed into law, would have had real impact. Huelskamp ultimately didn’t press forward with that amendment.
Huelskamp reportedly said he introduced the amendment not only because the Justice Department stopped defending DOMA in court, but also because of Vice President Joe Biden’s endorsement of same-sex marriage Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
“The most immediate reason was the comments of the vice president of the United States,” Huelskamp was quoted as saying. “Stating his position is fine, but you tie that together with the issues with the lawsuit in California in which, essentially, the attorney general walked away from DOMA and said, ‘I’m not going to defend that.’”
Unbelievable. I’m with Andrew Sullivan on this: We’re watching “the slow beaching of the elderly, white GOP on the shore of a multi-cultural and increasingly tolerant America.” Oh, the humanity.
Enjoy the view as society passes you by and your bigoted views recede further and further into history, dudes.