Saturday, March 03, 2012

Left Side of the Aisle #46 - Part 1

The DOJ will no longer defend laws banning veterans' benefits to spouses in same-sex couples.

Earlier this month, the Obama Administration took another step toward acceptance of same-sex marriage. The Department of Justice announced it will no longer defend legislation in court banning same-sex couples from receiving military and veterans benefits.

Attorney General Eric Holder said that the legislative record of the infamous Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, contains no rationale for providing veterans' benefits to opposite-sex veteran couples while denying them to legally married same-sex spouses of veterans.

Holder further argued that DOMA and other provisions of US law that deny federal benefits to both civilian and veteran same-sex couples are unconstitutional when applied to same-sex couples who are legally married.

The statement comes in response to a lawsuit filed in Massachusetts by the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network. It comes a year after Holder said the DOJ would no longer defend the main section of DOMA because it was unconstitutional when subjected to the standard of heightened judicial scrutiny applied to laws discriminating on the basis of race and gender; "heightened judicial scrutiny" being a legal term meaning such laws must have must stronger justification than other laws if they are to survive legal challenge.

While this well might give courts some encouragement in finding that laws discriminating against same sex couples fail the test of constitutionality, it of course sparked spluttering, frothing outrage from the denizens of the dark side, a place impervious to fact, logic, and simple human decency.

As an example of a denizen of the dark side, we can go to Republican presidential candidate Rick IShouldBeInASanitarium, who recently invoked Rule #10 on my list of tactics right-wingers use to avoid responsibility and actual debate. Rule #10 is "Accuse the accuser."

He told a bunch of fellow mouth-breathers at a campaign stop in Michigan that liberals are the real bigots in the debate over same-sex marriage. As proof, he quoted the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision upholding a lower-court ruling that California's PropHate banning same-sex marriage in the state is unconstitutional. He said that ruling was tantamount to the court saying, "If you believe marriage is between a man and a woman, it is either because you are a hater or a bigot."

Um, yes - that's exactly what it means.


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