Is DOMA Dead?

This has been Same-Sex Marriage Week at the Supreme Court, and reports are that the Defense of Marriage Act was absolutely clobbered yesterday. Of course, such predictions have been wrong before, but Lyle Denniston of SCOTUSblog reports that Kennedy the Swing Justice appears to be on the side of the four liberals on this one.

See also Irin Carmon:

It didn’t take long for the empty truth about the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act to be exposed Wednesday, and there was little equality opponents could do. At the Supreme Court hearing, Elena Kagan, the newest justice, went to the House Report from Congress when it passed the law in 1996, and summarized DOMA’s entire legal underpinning: “Congress decided to reflect and honor a collective moral judgment and to express moral disapproval of homosexuality.” According to people in the room, there were gasps and laughter at the so-called “gotcha moment.”

It was a duh moment, but a necessary one. Yes, DOMA’s about discrimination. That disapproval of gay people, not tradition or government uniformity, is at the root of the act is blatantly obvious both to anyone who observed it at the time and to everyone who has changed their Facebook profile photo this week. But it needed to be set out on a national stage, a few feet away from rainbow-festooned children asking what the big deal was. This week, both sides put forward their best cases and it quickly became clear the opposition to equality is based not on law or reason, but bigotry.

See also Defense Of Marriage Act Takes A Beating At Supreme Court and “Elena Kagan’s DOMA ‘gotcha’ moment.”

Religious bigots have been quick to claim martyrdom — Christians are now more scorned than homosexuals — and denounce legal gay marriage as a denial to their religious freedom, never mind that nobody is asking anybody to get “gay married” against his will. In the twisted minds of the bigots, “freedom” means the freedom to oppress others.

Paul Wildman writes

Here’s Fox News commentator Todd Starnes on the oppression that has already begun (“it’s as if we’re second-class citizens now because we support the traditional, Biblical definition of marriage”). And how is this second-class citizenship being thrust upon them back in the real world? Well, people are … strongly disagreeing with their position on an issue of public concern! It’s awful, I tell ya.

The impulse to jam that crown of thorns down on your head is a powerful one in politics. It means you’ve achieved the moral superiority of the victim, and the other side must be the victimizer. The problem is that these folks don’t seem to have much of a grasp on what second-class citizenship actually looks like. Last time I checked, nobody was forbidden to vote because they’re a Christian, or not allowed to eat in their choice of restaurants, or forced to use separate water fountains, or even be forbidden by the state to marry the person of their choice. That’s what second-class citizenship is. Having somebody on television call your views retrograde may not be fun, but it doesn’t make you a second-class citizen.

But I call particular attention to Erick Erickson’s screed, ‘Gay Marriage’ and Religious Freedom Are Not Compatible.

Erickson begins by acknowledging the libertarian argument that government should stay out of marriage. But, he argues, “the left” will never allow that to happen.

The left cannot take marriage out of government because for so long it has been government through which marriages were legitimized to the public and the left must also use government to silence those, particularly the religious, who refuse to play along.

Oh, that crown of thorns you wear must be digging into your brain, EE. But let’s continue … Erickson’s argument against legal same-sex marriage is entirely religious. He quotes the Bible, even, and says,

As long as there are still Christians who actually follow Christ and uphold his word, a vast amount of people around the world — never mind Islam — will never ever see gay marriage as anything other than a legal encroachment of God’s intent.

Erickson has several blind spots, one of which is that DOMA was/is a blatant attempt to use government to thwart those who disagree with his point of view. “Using government” is only bad when liberals do it, apparently.

Erickson’s biggest blind spot is, of course, the establishment clause. The 1st Amendment specifically strips Congress of the power to create law based on religious consideration. Even if God Herself were to pop into Washington DC and ask that such-and-such a bill be passed, it would be unconstitutional for Congress to do so, unless there is also a compelling non-religious reason for the law.

And, of course, nobody is forcing anybody to “gay marry.” Further, as Paul Wildman continued,

One of their favorite scare stories is that before you know it, Christian ministers are going to be hauled off to jail or have their churches lose their tax-exempt status if they refuse to marry gay people. Right, just like at the moment a Jewish synagogue will lose its tax-exempt status if the rabbi won’t preside over a Pentecostal wedding. And as for the florist who refuses to sell flowers to a gay couple, what he’s asking for is not a right but a privilege, the privilege to discriminate based on sexual orientation. It’s no different than if he refused to sell flowers to an interracial couple. But somehow, if he finds justification for that discriminatory practice in his faith, that’s supposed to make it a fundamental right.

What they can’t permit themselves to see is that they are not asking for freedom for people to live according to their own religious beliefs, which is what religious liberty is about. They are intent on using government to force everyone to live according to their religious beliefs. When Christianist whiner David Brody asks,

So here’s a question that may be a bit rhetorical in nature: Is it not the responsibility of the homosexual activist leaders to become much more vocal and preach tolerance and acceptance of the views from Bible-believing evangelicals? If they want tolerance and respect, shouldn’t they preach the same thing toward evangelicals?

… he’s asking for homosexuals to be “tolerant” of his oppression of them, whereas nobody is denying him the right to marry a woman. It’s not exactly equal.

20 thoughts on “Is DOMA Dead?

  1. It’s the dear old chestnut: preventing a bigot from discriminating is discrimination!

    Yeah, yeah.

    Apparently a major part of the anti-gay legal argument involved the allegation that “marriage is intended for the procreation of children.” So hey, all my fellow post-menopausal straight women: we can’t legally marry now, did you know that? My friends married 30+ years, who never had kids and never meant to: you’ve been living in sin!

    If Mr. Erickson and Mr. Brody wish to leave the gay-married U.S.A. for more amenable climes, I’d like to suggest Iran. (Oh, right: “vast amount of people… never mind Islam.” Yeah, Iran is for you, Erick son of Erick! At least you might learn that Muslims are people.)

  2. Well, since a hat should always match the gloves, they need a bloody crown of thorns to compliment their stigmata.
    Red is the IN color with today’s Christian martyrs to the cause.
    For an example – may I submit, “Red States.”

    Dear religious people – just like no one is coming for the gun-owners gun, NO ONE is out their advocating that church’s be forced by law to marry gay people! (On the other hand, have you ever considered that there would be less abortions then?).
    Your church can practice sexual bigotry as long as it likes – and, sadly, still keep its tax exempt status.

    And, if memory serves me, over 150 years ago, a lot of “good” Christians were using the Bible to defend the institution of slavery in this country. The poor little set-upon victims even started to war over their Christian right to enslave black people. And after they were soundly thumped, a whole culture of ‘victim as martyr’ was created, and continues to this day.
    And, a little over 60 years ago, a lot of “good” Christians were out there, quoting the Bible, when Truman was integrating the military, hysterically predicting the end of America as a military power.
    Ditto – almost 60 years ago, the Bible was used to as evidence to prevent children of different races from going to school together.
    Also too – about 50 years ago, there were plenty of “good” Christian folks out there, trying to deny African-American their Civil Right to vote (hmm… seems like they still haven’t got THAT out of their system).
    Also three, just over 45 years ago, there were plenty of “good” Christians out there protesting Loving v. VA, and whailing about how inter-racial marriage would end marriage as we know it! but to show a hint of compassion, you did ask, “And what, oh what will ever happen to mixed-race kids? ” Well, one of ’em, to your everlasting chagrin, is in his 2nd term as POTUS.

    So, it looks like after all of those causes were lost, “Gay” became the new “Black!”

    Has it ever occured to any of you, that either the Bible is wrong or you aint’t readin’ it right?
    All you’ve proved is, if God is truly infallible, then none of all y’all can read.
    Have any of you, your God, your precious Jesus, and your Bible, EVER been on the right side of an issue?
    Did any of you ever ask yourselves, “Hmm… I wonder if, maybe, just maybe, I’m the one who’s wrong?”
    Apparently not.
    What’s it like to be on the wrong side of history ever since The Enlightenment?

    If insanity can be defined ‘as doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result,’ then has it ever occured to you that you’re not religious – just insane.

    Does it ever enter your insane minds, that your “God Of Love” doesn’t ‘Hate F*gs?”
    And that if there is a God, and He/She/It is, indeed, loving, as you at least claim, that maybe what you need to worry about, is that if that God really hates anything, maybe it’s bigots and morons?
    Go pray on that, instead of preying on those who disagree with you and your version of the Bible.
    Go to the church of your choise, sit down, STFU, and pray over that.

  3. I think it is best summed up as “I want to be able to discriminate against people not just in my daily life, but by government policy.”

    What we have here is the wall of privilege crumbling and these guys really can’t handle the results – which are about humility and connecting to your fellow man. Now they want their targets, homosexuals, to defend them?

  4. In response to Brody’s rhetorical question..What good would it do to preach bible based tolerance and acceptance to evangelicals when the God of their bible has already proclaimed that homosexuals are an abomination, are completely unacceptable and not to be tolerated among Christians.. they are worthy of death and will be destroyed eternally by God himself..

    Maybe Christians aught to take a closer look at their homophobic God.

  5. Brody’s little verbal pout is so predicatable…It really highlights the complete insanity of Christain thinking…It reminds me of back when George Bush was asked during a presidential debate about who was a person that he greatly admired. He answered by saying, Jesus. At that time my wife was conducting a womens bible study in my home with a group of about 6 women, all intelligent,mature, and professionally accomplished, not airheads. One of the women made mention about Bush’s proclaiming the name of Jesus before men and tied it to the statement that Jesus supposedly made in scripture...Also I say unto you, Whosoever shall confess me before men, him shall the Son of man also confess before the angels of God…And Bush got 6 more votes. It blinded the women to who or what Bush really was.

    It didn’t seem to matter that Bush refered to Jesus as a philosopher and not a saviour.He just had to say Jesus’ name out loud in public.

  6. Swami,
    Since you’re more of a Bible expert than I’ll ever be, in that same part of the Bible that mentions homosexuality, Leviticus, isn’t wearing clothing of different fabrics at the same time forbidden?
    As is eating shellfish and crustaceans?
    And doesn’t it also say that the mortal sin of adultery is punishable by death, via stoning?

    How inconsistent with there faith would it be, if, at the anti-gay protests, they showed up wearing wool pants and cotton/polyester-blend shirts, met Newt, Vitter, and Sanford, at the rally, and invited them to join them at Red Lobster afterwards?
    And wouldn’t they, if they were to be consistent, for sinning, need to atone, and wouldn’t they have to work-up quite a sweat in their clothes of many fabrics, when, after their meal of llobster, crabs, and clams, they went outside in the parking lot and were forced by their faith, to to stone Newt, Vitter, and Sanford, to death?
    Just askin’?

  7. gulag…I’m not sure about mixed fabrics..but cross dressing will get you stoned..The bible does list being effeminate to qualify a male to be put to death..Marcus Bachmann?
    The only thing about effeminate is that the modern day christians conveniently define effeminate as homosexual, and not as normal people would understand effeminate..

  8. I found these, gents. Linky below. I haven’t checked against the actual Biblical text however.

    Don’t let cattle graze with other kinds of Cattle (Leviticus 19:19)
    Don’t have a variety of crops on the same field. (Leviticus 19:19)
    Don’t wear clothes made of more than one fabric (Leviticus 19:19)
    Don’t cut your hair nor shave. (Leviticus 19:27)
    Any person who curseth his mother or father, must be killed. (Leviticus 20:9)
    If a man cheats on his wife, or vise versa, both the man and the woman must die. (Leviticus 20:10).

    Also there is a famous awesome scene in an old West Wing episode, where President Bartlet smacks the smirk off a Doctor Laura lookalike, by reciting several of the nuttier prohibitions from Leviticus when she tries using it to condemn homosexuality. I can’t get to YouTube at work, but I bet it’s there.

  9. Swami,
    As I wrote here years ago, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Budhhism, and (_________________________ fill in the blank), are all cars of different makes. And all, with different “Owners Manuals” – aka: religions, and their “Holy Books.”

    All of the followers would like to get to the the destinations the owner manuals promise they can get to, if they follow the manauals oil change, and check-up and maintenance rules – many, if not most of them, the same destination.

    But, if your car is a Ford, then you have to hate and kill the owners of Chevy’s, Toyota’s, Honda’s, and EVERY other owner of a car whose manual differs from yours.

    We fight to the death, over the “Owners Manuals.”

    And, let’s not even get into the flavor’s of ice-creams in those cars, and the history of holocausts involved there…

    To me, it’s all madness…

  10. The real question is, how do the other 4 justices think they are going to be taken seriously after voting against the United States of America?

  11. According to people in the room, there were gasps and laughter at the so-called “gotcha moment.”

    I think it was shock by the highly privileged that anyone would directly call them out for what is only supposed to be spoken of in Mitt Romney’s “quiet rooms”.

  12. Oh sure, Swami; and I suppose the virgin Mary’s image on that “Rooms to Go” window off U.S. 19 is” imaginary”? Jeesh, they built a friggin’ shrine around a water stain from a mal functioning sprinkler head.

  13. “Maybe Christians aught to take a closer look at their homophobic God.”

    When I was a junior high school sprout, I had to take two years of theology. The first year we outlined the Old Testament with an entry for each verse and the second year, you guessed it, the New Testament.

    I remember how dark and close at hand the god of the Old Testament was. It was, in its way, transfixing. It never got any clearer until I read Joe Campbell’s “Masks of God” series and some Elaine Pagels. Campbell sees the god of the Old Testament undergoing an historical transformation to emerge as Angra Mainyu and perhaps even the Prince of Darkness himself. They occupy a very similar spiritual space and a necessary one.

    Jesus was the one that healed the leper and then told him to the Temple. The presence of a leper in the Temple was an abomination. But, Jesus was clearly bucking that system, reversing “abominations”. Some say that the proscription against homosexuality derived some of its power from the fact that the priests of some rival religions dressed as women. Leviticus has its homophobia, but so does Paul, who never knew Jesus when he lived, but served as the able marketeer and theologian for the new faith.

    Kind of related, kind of not:

    There is the discovery of the “Tomb of Jesus” which incorporates the possibility that Mary Magdalene was not only the most important disciple of Jesus, but, in fact, his wife. Whatever you think of the physical and statistical evidence, I don’t think it matters. What matters is that Christianity is lacking a sufficient measure of the feminine side of spirituality and the Tomb of Jesus makes an adjustment in this matter. Personally, I’d like to think that it is historically true.

  14. erinyes..Yeah, that was a joke. It created a traffic jam for several weeks with all the pilgrims trying to cross US 19 and Drew. It was almost like being at Fatima. It was a shame that some Godless heathen destroyed such a lovely mineral deposit apparition of La Virjen with a ball bearing and a Whamo sling shot.. The Brothers of the Sacred Bleeding Heart who purchased both the building and miracle took a real financial hit from that shot.

    All joking aside..It was a first class beat the hell out of showing up on a stale grilled cheese sandwich.

  15. *ahem* I’d just like to inject into the conversation at this point that there are Christians, and then there are Christians. One group does not define the whole. I am currently on day 2 of marathon church services for Holy Week … Tenebrae service, then Maundy Thursday, then Good Friday, then The Great Vigil, and finally Easter. Just to be clear, Episcopalian, not Catholic. So you might say I am one of them there Christians. And yet my Facebook profile right now is the pink and red equality sign … I believe that the only basis for discriminating against GLBT is ignorance and a blindness to the fact that we as Christians have as our first and greatest laws to love God and to love one another. Upon those two things should hang the whole of the rest of your understanding of what Christianity actually is and what Christians should actually be and do. I believe it is my responsibility to love, and hating or discriminating against gays is directly in conflict with that. If I am wrong about that, then so be it, I’ll find out about it directly from the source soon enough, but I will stand before the Throne with my head held high if I can say that my only sin was in trying to love too much (not that it will be, of course, but you get what I mean).

    I do not believe I am alone in that, either. There are many, many faithful Christians on our side of that debate. And there are many on the other side. And there are many on completely different sides. And there are a heck of a lot of people who call themselves Christians but live in such a way that they make a mockery of the name and the faith that are on the other side of the debate. And on our side. And on completely different sides. And there are a of of atheists …. and there are lot of Buddhists …. and there are a lot of just people …. you get what I mean, I hope….

  16. I think I speak for most Mahablog commentors when I say the “christians” we trash talk about are the extreme killer christians of the Texas / Oklahoma strain.
    The live and let live variety are just Ok.( although any magical thinking kind of creeps me out)

  17. Erickson says:”never mind Islam”

    Since when has the right cared about what concerns those of the Islamic faith? The man has absolutly no shame.

    DOMA, NAFTA, Gramm-Leach-Bliley, Commodity Futures Modernization Act, welfare reform, etc…… thanks Bubba, and many want to put Hill back in charge, pleeeease!

  18. erinyes,
    When I lived in Eastern NC, there were plenty of ‘NOT live and let live ones around.

    And, there’s plenty of ’em too, up here in Upstate NY.

    Plenty of nice ones who, you know, actually believe in peace and kindness and goodwill – and not the ones who leave no kind of peace, and wish bad-will on everyone who’s not one of them.

  19. Michelle Bachmann is still running down homosexuals with the same vengeance that Saul of Tarsus ran down early Christians.. Trying to destory them all in service to God.

    It’s strange because her husband displays characteristics that could lead one to possibly conclude that he’s not exactly one of the boys. He seems like a very sweet and soft man so I wouldn’t want cast aspersions regarding the desires that well within him, but there seems to be an inconsistency in his manner and his life’s work of trying to cure homosexuality.

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