Openly gay House members have chided
President Obama over his defense of the federal Defense of Marriage
On Tuesday, three openly gay
representatives, Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin), Jared Polis
(D-Colorado) and Barney Frank (D-Massachusetts), joined the growing
chorus of anger against the Obama administration's outdated
defense of DOMA, the law that allows states to ignore legal gay
marriages performed elsewhere and defines marriage as a heterosexual
union for federal agencies. The administration's defense came in a
brief against a gay couple who have sued the federal government,
claiming the law is unconstitutional. Candidate Obama called DOMA
“abhorrent,” and promised the gay and lesbian community he would
work to repeal it.
While Baldwin remained reserved, saying
she was “disappointed … particularly coming from this
administration,” Polis' tone was more cross.
“My sadness turned to outrage when I
read the Justice Department's brief that not only defended this
hurtful law but seemed to embrace it. Comparing my loving
relationship with my partner, Marlon [Reis], to incest was
unconscionable coming from a president who has called for change,”
Polis said in a press release issued Tuesday.
“The Obama administration made a HUGE
mistake in the DOMA brief. If they keep making mistakes like this
they risk losing the support of the GLBT community forever,” Polis
said, then added, “although I do not believe we are at that point
Baldwin was more generous, “I still
take President Obama at his word that he is committed to the repeal
Polis and Frank said they have called
on the president to explain himself.
“I think the administration made a
big mistake,” Frank told the Boston Herald. “The wording
they use was inappropriate.”
“I've been in touch with the White
House and I'm hoping the president will make clear these were not his
views,” the sixty-nine-year-old lawmaker added.
The statements come five days after
news of the brief became public Thursday night.
The three gay House members co-chair a
June 26 Democratic Party gay and lesbian fundraiser featuring Vice
President Joe Biden as keynote speaker. The fundraiser is under fire
by gay bloggers who have called for a boycott, arguing the Democratic
Party is undeserving of gay money.