Gay marriage foes are mobilizing
against Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan.
President Barrack Obama announced
Monday that Kagan was his choice to replace outgoing Justice Paul
The National Organization for Marriage
(NOM), the nation's most vociferous opponent of gay marriage, wasted
no time in labeling Kagan a “radical” nominee who would “impose
gay marriage in all 50 states.”
NOM alleges that Kagan, who as
solicitor general defended the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the
1996 law that defines marriage as a heterosexual union for federal
agencies, purposefully filed a weak legal defense to DOMA.
“The brief that Elena Kagan filed as
solicitor general on DOMA explicitly and gratuitously rejected the
key legal defense for marriage as the union of husband and wife –
that such unions uniquely protect children by encouraging responsible
procreation,” Brain Brown, president of NOM, said in a statement.
“Kagan's brief was designed to, and
in fact will, undermine the legal defense of marriage currently
before the federal courts,” he added, referring to three legal
challenges currently wending their way through the federal court
One of the suits challenges the
constitutionality of California's gay marriage ban, Proposition 8.
The ban, narrowly approved by voters in 2008, trumped a state Supreme
Court ruling that legalized gay marriage in the state. A federal
judge is expected to hear closing arguments in June.
The other two cases challenge DOMA.
But neither is looking to overturn section 2 of the law, which allows
states to ignore legal gay marriages performed in other states.
Instead, the lawsuits narrowly focus on federal benefits such as
income tax benefits and Social Security payments being denied to gay
and lesbian couples legally married in the state of Massachusetts.
All three cases are expected to reach
the Supreme Court.
Other groups opposed to gay rights
expressed their opposition to Kagan during her 2009 confirmation as
In a letter written by anti-gay rights
stalwarts the American Family Association and Focus on the Family,
the groups warned senators that Kagan's “extreme rhetoric makes it
highly likely that she also favors same-sex marriage.”
Kagan's support for repeal of “Don't
Ask, Don't Tell,” the 1993 law that outlaws gay troops from serving
openly, has also angered social conservatives who want the military
policy to remain.
The 50-year-old Kagan has also been the
subject of a whisper campaign that she is a lesbian, long considered
a definite deal-breaker for confirmation.
In a CBS
News item, blogger Ben Domenech, a former Bush administration
aide, wrote if picked Kagan would be the “first openly gay
justice.” Saying he was “applying old stereotypes to single
women with successful careers, the White House chided Domenech, who
apologized for the posting, but refused to retract the allegation.