“I don’t like it and I’m not going to do it!”
May 11, 2011
Jack Minor — Greeley Gazette
Recent actions by both the federal and state governments have indicated they will simply ignore their responsibilities by refusing to defend or enforce laws they do not like.
In 1996 Congress passed the Defense of Marriage Act with bipartisan votes. The bill was subsequently signed into law by President Clinton. The act simply stated that, for purposes of federal law, marriage was defined as being between one man and one woman. The bill also gave each state the right to decide for itself if a state wanted to accept or reject “gay” marriage.
During the 2010 election, then candidate Obama, stated that he supported DOMA. Following his election voters in California passed a state constitutional amendment, Prop. 8, declaring marriage to be between a man and a woman. After the law was challenged, Gov. Schwarzeneggar declared he would not defend the law in court.
U.S. District Court Judge, Vaughn Walker, declared this part of the state constitution unconstitutional stating in his ruling that, “Religious beliefs that gay and lesbian relationships are sinful or inferior to heterosexual relationships harm gays and lesbians.”
Walker, who is homosexual, also stated gender no longer forms an essential part of marriage; marriage, under law, is a union of equals.” Sponsors of Prop. 8 have filed a motion to toss out the motion on the grounds that Walker, having a conflict of interest, should have recused himself.
Following California’s lead, Obama changed his position on DOMA and declared the federal government would not defend the law, just as California had done.
With the executive branch tasked with enforcing the laws passed by the legislative branch, refusing to do its job, Congress is now having to defend the law in court.
The Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group for the House of Representatives retained the international law firm of King & Spaulding to defend DOMA in court. After taking the case, homosexual activists protested at at least one of their offices. Caving in to pressure, the firm announced it was withdrawing from the case along with lead attorney Paul Clement, a former Solicitor General of the United States. (Clement has argued 53 cases before the Supreme Court.)
The blog, Unicornbooty, reported that the firm “devotes much of its web presence to its LGBT rights commitment.” Regarding the announcement the site said, “This is a big win for us. There is homophobic egg all over Speaker Boehner’s face this morning. The country has no interest in defending this unconstitutional law, and now his attorneys do not either.”
Following the announcement, Clement left the firm stating he felt forced to resign out of a “firmly-held belief that a representation should not be abandoned because the client’s legal position is extremely unpopular in certain quarters. Defending unpopular positions is what lawyers do.”
Clement was then hired by Bancroft PLLC, who is now defending the case. The firm’s website states its areas of practice include complex and Supreme Court litigation, civil and criminal government investigations and proceedings, executive clemency, corporate governance, and national security and USA PATRIOT ACT compliance.
The government has also refused to intervene in another attack on DOMA filed in New York. The case, also represented by Clement, involves a lesbian suing taxpayers for “bonus pay” to avoid estate taxes. Edith Windsor, “widow” of Thea Spyer, claims that if DOMA was not enacted she would not have had to pay $350,000 in federal taxes on Spyer’s estate.
Chaplain Gordon James Klingenschmitt, a resident of Colorado Springs, said the decision by the justice department to not defend the law was disturbing. “It is amazing we have a government who has so little respect for the law they would pick and choose which laws to support. DOMA is still the law of the land and the government has a responsibility to defend it.”
The government has also said there is no intention of enforcing deportation proceedings for any individuals that would be covered under the DREAM act. Homeland Security officials have reportedly said their focus is on convicted criminals, not individuals covered under the DREAM act. The act would allow individuals up to 30 years of age to remain in the country legally if they choose to go to college.
Janet Napolitano has said people who qualify under the DREAM act are not an enforcement priority for Immigrations and Customs Enforcement.