Obama administration moves to the right side of history. Belatedly declares Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional.
by Dr. Jeffrey Lant
This is a story about a basic human right long deferred and now advanced.
This is the story of a president who tried to have his cake and eat it, too; who finally decided leadership was necessary and not merely finesse.
This is the story of a great nation’s contortions to affirm the right of marriage for some… while denying it to others.
This is the story of the ironically named Defense of Marriage Act, now called by its right name: unconstitutional, discriminatory… and now, with the stroke of the president’s pen, dead.
Here are the facts
The Defense of Marriage Act started its ill-starred career when President Bill Clinton (who should have known better) signed it into law September 21, 1996. (Public law 104-199.)
It was silly, stupid, and abrasively un-American from the first minute this profoundly bad idea was conceived. It said, in effect, these United States will create a club called Marriage. Certain people will be able to join this club and derive significant advantages and benefits (one man and one woman together) while others (one man and one man or one woman and one woman together) will be told that the way they love each other, deemed unsuitable by others, thereby precludes them from the receipt of any benefits, sentencing them instead to a lifetime of second-rate status and the bitterness, despair, and alienation accompanying that status.
In other words, in the land where the words “it’s a free country” are constantly mouthed by even the youngest children… the Congress of these United States and its president threw freedom out the window, the better to allow the majority to ride roughshod (and sanctimonious, too) over the rights of the harassed minority… which only wanted to be able to join the club and share its benefits.
This minority never wanted to do to the majority what this majority had already done to them: harass, demean, deprive, though that majority was adamant there could never be equality.
This minority never wanted or ever proclaimed its practices superior to the majority’s although that majority regularly did that to them.
This minority never asked that the marriage rights of the majority be suppressed, withheld, denied though that majority insisted that that minority be so victimized…
And this minority never said, never hinted, that the majority’s concept of love and relationships be declared illegal and bring about the immediate cancellation of the majority’s substantial economic advantages, although that majority insisted upon this depriving, this spoliation, this theft from the minority they victimized.
A great nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are equal, with malice aforethought rejected and re-wrote the very high and mighty documents of its revolutionary birth, opting instead for bigotry, legal segregation; selecting and endorsing instead the defining principles of the gulag, the ghetto, the concentration camp: that while all animals are equal, some are more equal than others and that these others must be punished accordingly… and for the crime of love at that.
Enter Barrack Obama, beneficiary of the civil rights movement, slow to protect the civil rights of others.
Obama went cap in hand to the gay community and pledged his assistance towards their struggle. But as became more and more clear, he preferred their money and block support. President in part because of their overwhelming support, community members were livid at his glacial pace where their constitutional rights were violated and withheld. There was outrage from these good Americans, and their outrage was both understandable and right. Obama had taken from them…. but done nothing to secure their civil rights. He was, in these days, part of the problem; not part of the solution.
Instead of endorsing and supporting what he had to know in both head and heart was right, he succumbed to the prevailing vice of the capital, walking a fine line between retaining the wrong that was… and the hornet’s nest he would unleash if he moved to secure the undoubtedly rights of the minority. This wasn’t leadership… it was politics… and it was despicable. As any civil rights leader could attest.
In December, 2010 the entire dynamic of the debate changed dramatically when the Congress repealed the ban on gay people serving openly in the military, a result which only a few days before had seemed to be dead. It is my belief that the two ladies from Maine, Senators Olympia Snow and Susan Collins were crucial in this reversal. If so, they will have resurrected the old slogan “As Maine goes, so goes the nation.” If later historical research should vindicate my supposition, it will be no surprise to me that two women brought sense, humanity, and equity to the debate; women, after all, were second-class citizens in their own marriages for long… and they knew the destruction and damage of that servile position too well to impose it on others.
February 23, 2011 Barrack Obama began to make amends, advancing freedom, instead of supporting untenable means to restrict it. The Department of Justice will no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court, saying that that law prohibiting recognition of same-sex marriages is unconstitutional and discriminatory.
This does not conclude the matter, there are still many significant aspects to be resolved and there is, even now, a backlash in certain states where gay marriage rights had become law. It is always thus in this protracted, interminable debate. But this is progress, make no mistake.
Each time a significant bastion of bigotry and oppression falls, the jeremiads of opponents seem more and more clearly what they have always been: the bitter fruit of counselors of hatred and fear, wearing America on their sleeves while never understanding that America is nothing where personal freedom remains the province of some who deny it to others. Our motto, remember all, is yet “Let freedom ring!”
This step towards final resolution of this issue has cheered multitudes… and has, I think, helped restore to the president a recollection of who he is and what he represents. These, it seems, he had somewhat forgot in his first years in office. Now he has remembered that he himself, his presidency and all its officers and affairs, would never have existed without the pioneers of civil rights. And he has found that civil rights are not for blacks alone… or any other single group… they are for all of us, no matter who we love, or how.
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About The Author
Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is CEO of Worldprofit, Inc., where small and home-based businesses learn how to profit online. Dr. Lant is also a syndicated writer and author of 18 best-selling business books. Details at worldprofit.com and JeffreyLantArticles.com
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Author: Jeffrey LantThis author has published 572 articles so far. More info about the author is coming soon.