Anti-gay rights groups alarmed at the election of a gay-affirming president are staging preemptive attacks on the pro-gay positions of the upcoming Barack Obama administration.

One such group, the Alliance for Marriage Foundation (AMF), the organization that drafted the Marriage Protection Amendment (MPA) in Congress, is working against any attempt to repeal the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

The conservative group Concerned Women for America (CWA) objects to several progressive Obama ideologies at Obama Watch, but four out of six of their concerns are gay related.

Both groups list defending DOMA from repeal as a priority.

At the AMF sponsored website facts and information about the law that forbids any federal agency from recognizing legal marriage can be found. The law also allows states to ignore legal gay marriages performed in another state.

The legislation was authored by then-Republican Georgia Representative Bob Barr and signed into law by then-President Bill Clinton in 1996. Proponents argued that without the legislation gay activists would win the right to marry in a single state and foist it upon the rest of the nation. In the mid-1990's such a state was Hawaii. In 1993, the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled in Baehr v. Lewin that it was unconstitutional to refuse gay couples the right to marry. However, the court stayed their ruling and by 1998 the state had passed the first-ever gay marriage ban amendment in the United States, essentially overruling the court's decision.

“The repeal of DOMA is the legislative Holy Grail for activists who want to impose their radical social agenda upon America through the courts,” said Rev. Sam Rodriguez, Jr., an AFM Advisory Board member and president of the National Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC) in a statement announcing the new website.

President-elect Obama promised during the campaign that he would work to repeal DOMA, but few gay activists believe with the economy in a tailspin that this will be a priority for the administration.

During the presidential campaign, Obama discussed how he would prefer to handle the repeal of the federal DOMA with gay weekly Philadelphia Gay News publisher Mark Segal, who asked if he would back a lawsuit to unseat the anti-gay legislation.

“I would want to review carefully any lawsuit that was filed,” Obama answered. “This is probably my carryover from being a constitutional lawyer. Here's where I can tell you [what] my principle is: DOMA was an unnecessary encroachment by the federal government in an area traditionally reserved for the state. I think that it was primarily sent as a message to score political points instead of work through these difficult issues. I recognize why it was done. I'm sympathetic to the political pressures involved, but I think that we need to bring it to a close and my preference would be to work through a legislative solution. I would also point out that if it's going before this court, I'm not sure what chances it would have to be overturned. I think we're going to have to take a different approach, but I am absolutely committed to the concept it is not necessary.”

But while DOMA might be the last item on the president-elect's to-do list, legislation aimed at protecting gays and lesbians is likely to be at the top.

Openly lesbian Wisconsin Representative Tammy Baldwin recently pegged the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act as the likely first GLBT legislative effort of the new Congress. The bill has previously passed both houses of Congress, but faced a threatened presidential veto from George Bush. Obama, however, has pledged his support for the bill.

Hate crimes legislation and protections for GLBT persons from discrimination in housing, public accommodations, and employment are decried as “special rights” on the Obama Watch website.

Social conservatives also worry about the future of “don't ask, don't tell,” the military's policy that bars gays and lesbians from serving openly. They argue that without the policy combat effectiveness would be destroyed by a heightened “sexualized” atmosphere.

President-elect Barack Obama has already signaled he would not take up the issue early on in his administration, but continues to express support for ending the military's gay ban on his transition website.

Obama told gay weekly Philadelphia Gay News that he would repeal the military's gay ban only after building consensus on the issue.

“I want to make sure that when we reverse “don't ask, don't tell” it's gone through a process and we've built a consensus or at least a clarity of what my expectations are so that it works. My first obligation as the president is to make sure that I keep the American people safe and that our military is functioning effectively,” Obama said in September. “Although I have consistently said I would repeal “don't ask, don't tell', I believe that the way to do it is make sure that we are working through a process, getting the Joint Chiefs of Staff clear in terms of what our priorities are going to be.”

Obama compared his consensus-building approach to ending the gay ban to earlier efforts to integrate female service members.

“That's how we were able to integrate the armed services to get women more actively involved in the armed services,” Obama said.

The upcoming 111th Congress' political ideology will differ greatly from the 85% majority that ratified federal DOMA or instituted “don't ask, don't tell,” setting the stage for possible repeal of both.

Opponents of gay rights, however, argue that the passage of three constitutional gay marriage bans on Election Day – in California, Arizona and Florida – gives them the political capital needed to keep gay prohibitions in effect.

“The new Congress gives President-elect Barack Obama the legislative numbers he needs to overturn DOMA,” said Rodriguez. “But will Congress follow his agenda or stand with the vast majority of Americans who believe marriage is between a man and a woman.”

The Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay and lesbian rights organization, lists repeal of federal DOMA and “don't ask, don't tell” as top priorities.