I'm really puzzled by the news of this DOJ brief on DOMA. On Friday, the Department of Justice called for the dismissal of a lawsuit that challenged the heinous Defense of Marriage Act. DOMA states that the federal government doesn't recognize same-sex marriages and that states don't have to, either. This DOJ brief contradicts President Obama's campaign promises to repeal DOMA, a law he described as "abhorrent." The gay rights movement, having supported the President's campaign en masse, was patiently waiting in line behind the global economic crisis and a slew of other "more pressing" issues. When this came along leading activists were, needless to say, pissed. Now the administration is saying that the President still intends to get rid of DOMA, but it is the DOJ's job to uphold the law of the land, whatever that law may be.
You know what else used to be illegal? Interracial marriage. Yeah, I said it! How the DOJ brief could compare same-sex marriage to incest and statutory rape and not make this much more reasonable connection is beyond me. My point is, we know that the law of the land is not infallible. It is the product of human effort, and as such can be wrong and scary and bigoted. If we wanted our government to follow the letter of law - no more, no less - we could install a system of computers for that. And soon we'd all be living on Mars, toiling endless to mine the ore they need for fuel. But I digress.
Over the past week the administration has paid lip-service to the ideas of equality, possibly trying to pacify angry gay rights activists. President Obama granted some benefits to the same-sex partners of federal employees (though, of course, not full benefits... that's outlawed by DOMA). And the DOJ has allowed one man to change his passport to reflect his married name. It's kind of like cutting off someone's leg, then handing them back a few toes.
This is, at best, a first-class f*** up (Joe Biden's in the back with his hands in the air, "Not me this time! Totally not me."). At worst, I've heard it called an attempt by the Obama administration to kowtow to "family values" conservatives. One thing is for sure - the trust has been broken. President Obama will need to offer up a lot more before he can again count on the support of the gay community and it's supporters.
Here's a link to a good summary article.