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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Minneapolis Ward 1 Blog

There is very little coverage of the Ward 1 Minneapolis City Council race, even by the Powerliberal. She covered quite a bit during the endorsement battle but hasn't posted much since. Nolan started a blog dedicated specifically to that race:

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Barney Frank on the DOMA Brief


Congressman Frank Corrects Media Reports on his Response to DOMA Brief
June 17, 2009

Congressman Barney Frank issued the following statement in response to a newspaper story regarding his position on the brief by the Department of Justice about Smelt v. United States.

“When I was called by a newspaper reporter for reaction to the administration’s brief defending the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, I made the mistake of relying on other people’s oral descriptions to me of what had been in the brief, rather than reading it first. It is a lesson to me that I should not give in to press insistence that I comment before I have had a chance fully to inform myself on the subject at hand.”

“Now that I have read the brief, I believe that the administration made a conscientious and largely successful effort to avoid inappropriate rhetoric. There are some cases where I wish they had been more explicit in disavowing their view that certain arguments were correct, and to make it clear that they were talking not about their own views of these issues, but rather what was appropriate in a constitutional case with a rational basis standard – which is the one that now prevails in the federal courts, although I think it should be upgraded.”

“It was my position in that conversation with the reporter that the administration had no choice but to defend the constitutionality of the law. I think it is unwise for liberals like myself, who were consistently critical of President Bush’s refusal to abide by the law in cases where he disagreed with it to now object when President Obama refuses to follow the Bush example. It is the President’s job to try to change the law, but it is also his obligation to uphold and defend it when it has been enacted by appropriate processes. It would not be wise, in my judgment, for those of us who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, or who sympathize with the fight for our rights, to argue for a precedent that says that executives who disagreed politically with the purpose of the law should have the option of refusing to defend it in a constitutional case.”

“I strongly opposed DOMA when it was adopted and I will continue to fight for changes. I support very strongly the lawsuit brought by the people at Gay & Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD) that make the cogent argument that DOMA’s provision denying federal recognition of same-sex marriages blatantly violates the equal protection clause. And I will work with the Obama administration as they have promised to do to enact laws protecting LGBT people from hate crimes, from job discrimination, and from discrimination in the military. I will also be critical when I think inappropriate language is used. But after rereading this brief, I do not think that the Obama administration should be subject to harsh criticism in this instance.”

People for the American Way Condemns Obama's DOMA Brief

Dear Eva,

Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont now allow same-sex couples to marry and to enjoy the rights and responsibilities of civil marriage in those states. And thousands of same-sex marriages performed in California before the passage of Prop 8 ended equal marriage there are still valid according to a recent court ruling.

But in none of these places can someone in a same-sex marriage who has paid into the social security program collect survivors' benefits if his or her spouse were to pass away, nor receive the hundreds of other important federal benefits that heterosexual married couples are entitled to receive. This is because of the prohibitions contained in the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

DOMA is a looming roadblock to full legal equality for same-sex couples ... a roadblock that candidate AND President-elect Barack Obama pledged to remove.

People For the American Way is collecting the names of Americans willing speak out and tell both the president and congressional leaders that the time has come to DUMP DOMA, and that they should act to do so now.

Please add your name to the petition and to this historic movement now.

Tonight, President Obama announced that he is moving administratively to provide some benefits to the same-sex partners of federal employees. This is a very small step in the right direction, but it's really just a token, and tokens are no longer enough. What stands in the way of real progress for all same-sex couples is DOMA, which denies the most important benefits -- healthcare, retirement, health insurance and more -- to anyone but "spouses" under DOMA's definition of marriage (ie. married heterosexual couples).

And sadly, the administration has not lived up to the president's earlier calls to repeal DOMA.

On Friday, the Justice Department filed a legal brief in which it went far above and beyond simply defending DOMA as a federal policy against a court challenge. The brief cited laws regarding incest ... it called DOMA a policy of government "neutrality" (which it is clearly anything but) ... and it justified the government's continued discrimination on the basis that it's cheaper than expanding fundamental rights and protections.

There is no defense for the Defense of Marriage Act. Tell the president and Congress it's time for DOMA to go. Tell them to DUMP DOMA now.

Please speak up and remind our leaders now that less unequal is still unequal -- tell them to DUMP DOMA.

-- Your Allies at People For the American Way

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Congressman Jared Polis Criticizes Obama on DOMA Brief

Polis Statement on DOMA

Washington, Jun 16 - U.S. Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) issued the following statement in response to the Obama Administration’s decision to defend the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in a recent court filing.

“I was shocked and disappointed to learn that President Obama chose to defend DOMA in federal court, especially given his campaign promise to call for a full repeal of DOMA. My sadness turned to outrage when I read the Justice Department’s brief that not only defended this hurtful law but seemed to embrace it. Comparing my loving relationship with my partner, Marlon, to incest was unconscionable coming from a president who has called for change.

Since this filing, I have called on the President to issue a statement or give any sign that would clarify his position and am disappointed in his lack of reply.

I am a proud Democrat, as are many in the GLBT community, and I believe we must hold our leaders accountable. The Obama Administration made a HUGE mistake in the DOMA brief. If they keep making mistakes like this, they risk losing the support of the GLBT community forever, although I do not believe we are at that point yet.

President Obama needs to honor his promise to repeal this law and end its needlessly divisive and harmful impact on our nation. I again call on him to work with us in Congress to help pass legislation, ending this hateful and divisive law.

As the New York Times editorialized yesterday, “busy calendars and political expediency are no excuse for making one group of Americans wait any longer for equal rights.”

Monday, June 15, 2009

Photo from Obama Protest Last Month

AP Photo of a "Gay Rights Rally late last month" according to CBS News.

The anger from gay rights advocates toward President Obama is starting to boil over.

On Monday, Joe Solmonese, the president of the establishment gay rights group The Human Rights Campaign, sent an angry letter to the president objecting to the decision by the Obama Justice Department to file a brief defending the Defense of Marriage Act.

"I realized that although I and other LGBT leaders have introduced ourselves to you as policy makers, we clearly have not been heard, and seen, as what we also are: human beings whose lives, loves, and families are equal to yours," Solmonese wrote. "I know this because this brief would not have seen the light of day if someone in your administration who truly recognized our humanity and equality had weighed in with you."

Bill Maher Takes on Barack Obama