Defense of Marriage Act

“It’s the law!” is not actually an adequate defense of a law

The moment the Supreme Court upheld the individual mandate to purchase health insurance under Obamacare, the primary defense of the law became “It’s the law!” Since talk began of a budget impasse over defunding this particular law, that refrain has become ubiquitous. There’s just one problem: It’s a tautology that doesn’t actually make an argument.

Every law began as a bill that was “passed by Congress, signed by the President, and approved by the Supreme Court.” Laws, once written into code, do not become inviolably permanent. Even such duly-enacted laws can be repealed or defunded by Congress (with the President’s permission or by overriding his veto). Democrats in 2007 tried to defund the Iraq war, even though it was legally authorized by Congress, i.e. “the law”.

Surprisingly (except not at all), Democrats aren’t consistent sticklers for maintaining the status quo of the law in all cases. I will list a few examples, though it should be self-evident that the “progressive” party would be generally in favor of changing the law over time.

The Constitutional Case for Same-Sex Marriage

As the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments this week on both Hollingsworth v. Perry - the challenge to California’s Proposition 8, which banned gay marriage in the state - and U.S. v. Windsor - the challenge to the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which recognized marriage at the federal level as between a man and a woman – state and federal laws effecting marriage equality face their first legal confrontation with the Judicial Branch. Herein I make the constitutional case for marriage equality that respects both individual and religious liberties.

Last week, Senator Rand Paul proposed removing federal recognition of marriage - for everyone – telling Bob Costa at the National Review:

Obama: Stupendous Man! and Lawgiver

My all time favorite comic strip is Calvin and Hobbes. It is about a young boy and his pet stuffed tiger, and the adventures they have jumping between real life and a world ruled by his imagination. He escapes the mundane tasks of life by escaping into his alternate reality, where he can be anything he wants to be, from a Tyrannosaurus Rex, to the Intrepid Spaceman Spiff, from Stupendous Man!, to the Supreme Ruler and Dictator for Life. Calvin always wins in the end because, it being his imagination, he controls the outcome. In a comic strip, this is great fun. In real life…not so much.

President Obama seems to have determined that he is the new Supreme Ruler and Dictator for Life. At least, this is a plausible conclusion based on his actions since taking office. Our first real glimpse at his unbridled narcissism came at a rally in June 2008. Having won the Democrat Party nomination for president, Obama proclaimed to the adoring throngs that “this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal; this was the moment when we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on earth.” Goodness, now all he has to do is cure cancer and raise the dead and he can call it a day!

The problem with Obama’s view of himself as a messianic leader is that he seems to feel not only that he is above the law, but that he is the Supreme Lawgiver. He sees himself as the voice in the burning bush, giving utterance to his subjects which has force of law by virtue of his having spoken it, and we are all commanded to obey.

Hillary Clinton has beclowned herself once again: She flip-flopped on another big issue in hilariously disastrous fashion

In 1996, Bill Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibited the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages and allowed to states to do the same. The First Lady supported the policy at the time.

As recently as the 2008 presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton is on the record saying marriage should be for opposite-sex couples, though others can have (separate but) equal rights in civil unions.

Then, just last year, one year after President Obama (who also famously “evolved” on the issue), she announced her full support for same-sex marriage. Seems pretty clear that she changed her mind on the issue, right?

HELL NO! And you are a terrible person for thinking so. At least according to an interview Secretary Clinton did with an NPR affiliate Thursday. Host Terry Gross questions Clinton for more than 7 minutes trying to get her to say if she changed her mind on the issue or just finally announced what her position had been all along. Neither one, apparently.

Several minutes into the process, Clinton actually scoffs and accuses Gross of attempting to entrap her into one of the two positions. Because NPR hosts are so fond of gotcha journalism, especially with Democrats, right?

The whole thing is a master class in political paranoia, cynicism, and double speak. It really is quite something.

Media takes Rand Paul’s DOMA comments completely out of context

Shortly after the Supreme Court’s rulings on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and Proposition 8, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) joined conservative talk show host Glenn Beck to discuss the cases and the role of states in defining marriage.

Beck expressed a measure of concern that altering the definition of marriage would lead to polygamy.

“I really don’t care — you get married, you don’t get married; you have homosexual marriage or whatever,” said Beck. “First problem with this is if you change one variable — man and a woman to man and man, and woman and woman — you cannot then tell me that you cannot logically tell me you can’t change the other variable: one man, three women. Uh, one woman, four men.”

“Who are you to say, if I’m a devout Muslim and I come over here and I have three wives, who are you to say if I’m an American citizen, that I can’t have multiple marriages,” he added.

Paul expressed agreement with Beck’s comments, adding that there is a role for state governments to have basic some laws on marriage, without which, he said sarcastically, could lead to unusual arrangements.

Supreme Court strikes down federal provisions of DOMA

In the first of two cases dealing with the issue of gay marriage, the Supreme Court ruled this morning struck down the federal provisions of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) while maintaining the prerogative of states to define marriage on their own terms.

The Court’s opinion in the case, United States v. Windsor, authored by Justice Anthony Kennedy, ruled that Section 3 of DOMA, which codified the definition of marriage as one man and one woman into federal law in 1996, violates the Equal Protection Clause of Fourteenth Amendment and the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment.

“Under DOMA, same-sex married couples have their lives burdened, by reason of government decree, in visible and public ways. By its great reach, DOMA touches many aspects of married and family life, from the mundane to the profound,” wrote Kennedy for the majority. “It prevents same-sex married couples from obtaining government healthcare benefits they would otherwise receive. It deprives them of the Bankruptcy Code.”

“The power the Constitution grants it also restrains. And though Congress has great authority to design laws to fit its own conception of sound national policy, it cannot deny the liberty protected by the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment,” added Kennedy. “What has been explained to this point should more than suffice to establish that the principal purpose and the necessary effect of this law are to demean those persons who are in a lawful same-sex marriage. This requires the Court to hold, as it now does, that DOMA is unconstitutional as a deprivation of the liberty of the person protected by the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution.”

Liberty Links: Morning Reads for Thursday, February 24th

Below is a collection of several links that we didn’t get around to writing about, but still wanted to post for readers to examine. The stories typically range from news about prominent figures in the liberty movement, national politics, the nanny state, foreign policy and free markets.

Countdown to Government Shutdown (National Journal)

Troubled banks rise to highest level in 18 years (CBS News)

Tea Party senator: House GOP funding bill ‘not even close’ on cuts (The Hill)

DCCC targets House Republicans on budget (The Hill)

2012 Ad Blitz for Obama Planned (Wall Street Journal)

In Turnabout, U.S. Says Marriage Act Blocks Gay Rights (The New York Times)

The capital’s red-light district (Las Vegas Sun)

Panel: Green jobs company endorsed by Obama and Biden squandered $535 million in stimulus money (The Daily Caller)

The reaction to Ron Paul’s straw poll victory reveals the GOP’s hypocrisy (Charleston City Paper)

The Three McCains

Understanding Senator John McCain is no easy task. Senator McCain was elected to the US House of Representatives and four years later moved up to the US Senate. When McCain was first elected, I dealt with some active conservatives from Arizona who knew McCain. These people were enamored with the Senator and told me to watch for him, further stating that John McCain was a conservative leader who would follow in the footsteps of Ronald Reagan.

Note with me the three phases in the career of Senator John McCain.


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