In a move that many gay rights advocates feel is at best backpedalling, and at worst outright betrayal, the Department of Justice filed a brief Thursday upholding the controversial Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
Discontent began in May, when information regarding the repeal of DOMA was removed from the White House website. The brief filed this week, which has greatly alarmed gay rights advocates, upholds the rights of individual states to legislate same-sex marriage. Most troubling to proponents of same-sex rights is this portion of the brief, which is, according to gay-rights group The Human Rights Campaign, “neither grounded in fact nor law.”
[DOMA amounts to] a cautious policy of federal neutrality towards a new form of marriage. DOMA maintains federal policies that have long sought to promote the traditional and uniformly-recognized form of marriage, recognizes the right of each State to expand the traditional definition if it so chooses, but declines to obligate federal taxpayers in other States to subsidize a form of marriage that their own states do not recognize.
Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese, in a statement, condemned the decision to determine the rights of millions of Americans based on fiscal policy.
“Same-sex couples and their families are not seeking subsidies. We pay taxes equally, contribute to our communities equally, support each other equally, pay equally into Social Security, and participate equally in our democracy. Equal protection is not a handout. It is our right as citizens.”
As long as the Defense of Marriage Act stands, legal same-sex unions will not be recognized in states that allow only for “opposite marriage.”