It therefore comes as no surprise that the president is now being embraced more than before by groups such as the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) which see this decision as the next victory for their cause to emerge from the Obama White House, along with such moves as the repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy regarding openly gay troops in the armed forces (another policy adopted under the Clinton administration).
Throughout the presidential campaign in 2008, Obama claimed to support civil unions for same-sex couples, while opposing gay marriage — an attempt to give the illusion of moderation in order to curry favor among mainstream American voters, who already had doubts about him, thinking he was too liberal. In an interview with the Chicago Daily Tribune, Obama said, "I'm a Christian. And so, although I try not to have my religious beliefs dominate or determine my political views on this issue, I do believe that tradition, and my religious beliefs say that marriage is something sanctified between a man and a woman." The White House also said the following on the issue:
President Obama supports full civil unions that give same-sex couples legal rights and privileges equal to those of married couples. Obama also believes we need to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and enact legislation that would ensure that the 1,100+ federal legal rights and benefits currently provided on the basis of marital status are extended to same-sex couples in civil unions and other legally-recognized unions.
Ever since he took office in January 2009, Obama has vowed his desire to see DOMA repealed, including at Gay Pride Month receptions held in the White House. In addition, through his heavy-handed use of executive orders in unconstitutional ways (thus creating policies while circumventing Congress), he expanded the provisions of the Family and Medical Leave Act to homosexual couples, requiring most hospitals to allow homosexuals to visit their partners. His regulatory power grab also granted federal employees' same-sex partners access to a government insurance program that pays for long-term conditions. They also would be allowed to take sick leave to care for a sick partner or non-biological child.
While claiming to oppose gay marriage, Obama has opposed DOMA consistently throughout his tenure in the U.S. Senate, earning an approval rating of 89 percent from the Human Rights Campaign, an example of opportunistic flip-flopping, rather than any concrete commitment on the issue. One cannot serve two masters simultaneously (in this instance, the homosexual lobby and family values voters), a lesson which Obama has not learned from past Democrats such as Senator John Kerry, whose flip-flopping haunted him throughout the 2004 presidential campaign.
While before the election, Obama declared that gay marriage should be left up to the states, in reality, he took sides in a debate he swore he’d let others decide, and expressed criticism at the voters of California, who soundly rejected gay marriage in Proposition 8 on Election Day in 2008. Obama called the ballot measure “divisive and discriminatory” and concluded by congratulating “all of you who have shown your love for each other by getting married these last few weeks.” Obama is a federalist only when the states settle on policy he agrees with. In July 2008, he sent a letter to the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club of San Francisco, in which he declared his opposition: “I oppose the divisive and discriminatory efforts to amend the California Constitution, and similar efforts to amend the U.S. Constitution or those of other states,” claiming that he opposes gay marriage while opposing any constitutional measures against it, an illogical and convoluted position to take on an issue of such importance.
Examples of such attempts to curry favor with Americans of faith include his inviting African American gospel singer Donnie McClurkin to sing at his events (McClurkin believes that homosexuality can be reversed through prayer), while once accusing pro-family African American pastors of “dividing their churches.” Interestingly, when a gay couple sued the federal government over DOMA, his Assistant Attorney General, Tony West, defended DOMA in an argument that expressed standard conservative talking points on the issue, arguing that "courts have widely held that certain marriages performed elsewhere need not be given effect, because they conflicted with ... public policy,” comparing gay marriage to “marriage of uncle to niece," "marriage of 16-year-old," and "marriage of first cousins."
Obama’s lawyers also argued that DOMA is a valid exercise of Congress’s power under the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the Constitution, consistent with Equal Protection and Due Process principles, and doesn’t infringe upon any fundamental rights, including speech, privacy, and any Ninth Amendment “rights.” Yet, when it became apparent that the Ninth District Court would rule against DOMA, West submitted a brief saying it opposes DOMA, a move akin to rats jumping a sinking ship — an unsurprising move, given Obama’s career-long rejection of DOMA, and indecisiveness on same-sex marriage, dating back to his days as a state senator.
Similarly, while Obama signed the repeal of DADT in December, his lawyers are still defending the policy in court, arguing for its constitutionality, because Obama fears having to compensate LGBT soldiers for perceived discrimination.
Therefore, the Obama administration cannot be trusted to be a dependable source of support for anyone concerned with family values. For instance, while the President skipped the National Day of Prayer in 2009, he nonetheless found time to deliver Human Rights Campaign’s keynote address that year. Likewise, in exchange for the political support provided by the gay lobby, Obama reciprocated by nominating John Berry (picture, above) to the post of Director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).
Berry is the highest-ranking gay federal official, and supports full benefits for gay partners of federal workers, as well as repeal of DOMA — policies which he has used his taxpayer-funded position to advocate for. Obama has set records by appointing a total of over 150 gay and lesbian individuals to federal positions, in what many perceive as a compensatory move for his slowness on repealing DADT. His latest homosexual appointment has been an egregious break with tradition; the first male and homosexual White House Social Secretary was appointed last week, Jeremy Bernard, a former diplomat. More shockingly, Obama appointed “Safe Schools Czar” Kevin Jennings, former director of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, which promotes “tolerance” [sic] and moral relativism on homosexuality in public schools, under the smokescreen of “preventing bullying.” Obama supports public schools presenting homosexual relations as a valid lifestyle choice to children as young as six; when asked about a second-grade teacher reading her class a story about same-sex marriage, Obama answered that “one of the things I want to communicate to my children is not to be afraid of people who are different.”
Jennings’ appointment is indicative of a larger problem: Obama’s unquestioning support of “hate crimes” legislation, including the Matthew Shepard Act, which criminalizes motivation when crime victims are homosexual (effectively declaring thought crimes), as well as his support of the Employee Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which he supported as an Illinois state senator, which would ban employees from not hiring homosexuals. According to LGBT newspaper The Blade, their lobby may even pressure Obama to circumvent the Republican-led Congress by issuing an Executive Order requiring the federal government to contract only with companies that have non-discrimination policies based on sexual orientation and gender identity protecting their employees. Just like Obama himself, his LGBT allies believe that following the Constitution by enacting legislation through Congress is an inconvenience:
Richard Socarides, president of Equality Matters, said [regarding the Executive Order], “It’s definitely an administrative device the president can use to help advance the cause of full equality, especially if the Congress is unwilling to take action.”
While flip-flopping, in an attempt to placate both sides of the issue, Obama’s decision to reverse DOMA is unsurprising, given his long career of pandering to the gay/lesbian lobby.
Photo: John Berry, Director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM)