The Obama Justice Department has filed a brief in a San Francisco case involving DOMA which may be the strongest signal they’ve given as to where they’re headed on the issue of marriage equality. We already knew that they had deemed DOMA Section 3 to be unconstitutional, and this seems to be that decision in action:
The filing, submitted Friday in the case of a San Francisco federal court employee seeking family insurance coverage for her wife, was the department’s first chance to elaborate on President Obama’s announcement Feb. 23 that he considered the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional and would no longer defend it in court.
The brief was just as striking for the emphatic tone of its arguments as for its conclusion, that the law was invalid:
— The law “was motivated in substantial part by animus toward gays and lesbians and their intimate relationship,” and rested on “stereotype-based thinking” that offends the constitutional guarantee of equality, the Justice Department wrote.
— Even sincere moral or religious disapproval of homosexuality “is not a legitimate policy objective” or basis for a law.
— Laws that penalize or prohibit same-sex marriage do not encourage heterosexual marriage, procreation or responsible child-rearing, but instead deny children of same-sex couples “the benefits of the stable home life produced by legally recognized marriage.”
— Proposition 8, the 2008 California initiative banning same-sex marriage, was an example of a “political backlash” demonstrating the relative powerlessness of gays and lesbians – a critical factor in judicial review of all such laws.
It seems as if legal minds are starting to, finally, coalesce around a very simple understanding of gay rights, one that considers the gay community as we actually are, rather than as the Religious Right says we are. That’s huge, considering the fact that so many of these cases are headed for the Supreme Court.
And to be sure, they haven’t technically said they support marriage equality, but every argument detailed above is an argument for it. They’re getting there.