Michael Hamar

Are Republicans Playing the Christianists on DOMA Defense?

Filed By Michael Hamar | March 06, 2011 2:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: anti-gay bigotry, Christianists, Congressional Republicans, DOMA, GOP Base, John Boehner, religious based discrimination, unconstitutional laws

In today's GOP giving political fellatio to the Christian Right is de riguer since the religious Kool-Aid drinking crowd makes up such a large portion of the GOP base. boehner1.jpgBut in announcing his plan to defend DOMA, it seems that John Boehner may be trying to have things both ways: take steps to keep the Kool-Aid drinkers quiet, while perhaps not putting a full blown effort into the effort, since in truth, outside the Christo-fascist set, same-sex marriage is not a high priority item.

The New York Time's review of the Boehner/GOP defense plan seems to be a watered down approach to avoid the possibility that the issue be shown to be more smoke than fire except among professional Christians, self-enriching paid political whores like Maggie Gallagher and Brian Brown, and child rapist-protecting members of the Catholic Church hierarchy.

As noted in previous posts on my personal blog, defending DOMA in court is a far different matter than shouting out sound bites to untethered from reality political audiences. Should the GOP move forward in defending DOMA in court, I hope they find out that they have merely set themselves up for ridicule and defeat. Here are some story highlights:

House Republicans quietly moved Friday to uphold the Defense of Marriage Act, the 1996 law that bans federal recognition of same-sex marriages, saying they would step in to argue for the measure's constitutionality after the Obama administration's decision to stop defending it.

Republican leaders had the option of inserting themselves in the case by introducing a resolution on the House floor and allowing members to speak out on the issue. Instead they released a statement of their intent on a Friday afternoon when the House was out of session.

By choosing that route, Republican leaders illuminated a central problem they face in the 112th Congress: how to reflect the priorities of traditional social conservatives when much of the party's energy is focused on the federal budget and the national debt, the animating passions of the freshman class of lawmakers.

Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indiana set off a debate within the party last month when he warned fellow Republicans not to get bogged down in the cultural wars of yore and to "agree to get along for a little while" on social issues.

Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio took to the political tightrope with an arabesque on Friday, when he announced in a news release that he would convene the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group, made up of the three top Republicans and two most senior Democrats in the House, "for the purpose of initiating action by the House to defend this law of the United States."

The advisory group can now decide to ask courts to appoint it as a party in cases involving the marriage act or it can simply file a brief or make an argument as an interested observer.

Support for action by the House to defend the marriage statute came from some conservative groups and lawmakers. But many freshmen in the Republican caucus were silent on the matter.

Mr. Boehner said. "The constitutionality of this law should be determined by the courts, not by the president unilaterally, and this action by the House will ensure the matter is addressed in a manner consistent with our Constitution."

The move drew rebukes from gay rights groups and some Democrats. "I think it's sad that the speaker of the House wants to spend taxpayer funds to discriminate against people," said Representative Jerrold Nadler, Democrat of New York and the lead sponsor of a bill to repeal the marriage act. "It is his right to do this. But it is totally wrong."

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Chitown Kev | March 6, 2011 2:59 PM

Michael, to answer your question, I think that the Republicans would like to play the Christianists on defending DOMA.

I simply don't think that the Christianists will allow them to.

Pam Daniels Pam Daniels | March 6, 2011 4:14 PM


I’m convinced that we have a better chance of passing “Inclusive ENDA” or some facsimile thereof in this congress than we did in the last congress! Boehner will let republicans “vote their conscience” on a bill like “Inclusive ENDA” to keep that vote “under the radar” in the 2012 election.

The question for our LGBT community is will we take a victory like I mention above or will the LGBT community sit on its hands and hope Democrats regain control of the U.S. House and then hope Inclusive ENDA isn’t thrown under the buss again the way Democrats threw us under the buss in the last congress?


Stonewall Girl Stonewall Girl | March 6, 2011 8:02 PM

Pam, I do not think that Congressional Democrats threw us under the bus, rather that Republicans gave them a chance to lose their focus and direction and perhaps a little backbone and they seized that opportunity. That being said, they did in fact pass the first fully inclusive LGBT legislation and passed many other pieces of legislation that have a positive impact on all LGBT people. The no pre-existing conditions part of the health care reform is huge for transpeople.

Adding gender identity to government civilian employment was pretty damned big as well as the new HUD policies for non discrimination for all LGBT people.

Unfortunately, we see this as a bunch of singles with no home runs, but hell it's better than strining out all the time in the past or event never getting a chance to get up to bat!

Sadly, much more could have been done, I believe.

So, as far as legislation in this term, you say:

IF Boehner lets Republicans vote their conscience,
if many of them do have a conscience in a House where they are up for re-eletion every 2 years and the "right wing base" demands full adherence to their agenda or it will primary all moderates,it can pass.

Even under those best of circumstances, I do not think there are the votes and I disagree,

But I sincerely hope I'm wrong and you are right as far as Republicans! Perhaps with old time libertarians it might be so, but I see lots of myopic right wingers trying to out-do Michelle Bachmann and Scott Garret.

I do believe that it should be brought up and moved in the Senate where it has a chance of passing or forcing a filibuster!


I am 100% for pushing non-stop for ENDA regardless of who holds the House. Here in Virginia, a federal DOMA is the only near term solution to LGBT citizens being fired at will even by the Commonwealth of Virginia itself.

As for the Democrats, I have no real faith in them - and that includes the "Liar in Chief" in the White House. During the last 4 years it seems that movement on LGBT issues has only happened when the community and LGBT bloggers went ballistic and threatened to shut off the money spigot (I still have the "Don't Ask, Don't Give" link on my personal blog) .

Stonewall Girl Stonewall Girl | March 11, 2011 12:14 AM

Dont ask, dont give? Liar in chief? I get it... you are happy with Boehner and still disappointed that McCain didnt win!

enjoy your tea! or am I missing something?

Boehner is referring the matter to the House Office of General Counsel (http://www.ogc.house.gov/), run by non-partisan attorneys, most of whom have been in place for a decade or two, specializing not in culture war issues but relatively esoteric matters related to the House being a distinct constitutional entity. Am I reading that reasonably accurately?

A reasonably robust response by the OGC would need to include hiring outside firms, as alluded to by Nancy Pelosi... but is it still true that those firms would serve at the direction of the OGC, more than ultra right-wing House members?

I wouldn't be surprised if they fulfill this promise. It's only the left that gets told it has nowhere else to go.