Thursday, 18 June 2009

Same-sex Benefits Sidestep the Law

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Gay couplePresident Barack Obama on June 17 issued a presidential memorandum that extended a number of benefits to same-sex partners of federal workers. The move received mixed reviews by homosexual rights activists, some of whom were more angered than appeased. The president had earlier proclaimed the month of June "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month."

AP reported on June 17 that some homosexual activists saw this as a hollow gesture designed to convince homosexuals to keep offering their financial support despite the administration’s slow progress toward overturning the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy and the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Before the president’s memo, some wealthy homosexual fundraisers had even pulled out of supporting a June 25 Democratic National Committee event where Vice President Joe Biden is scheduled to speak. John Aravosis, a homosexual activist, complained somewhat naively that “when a president tells you he's going to be different, you believe him,” and added, “It's not that he didn't follow through on his promises, he stabbed us in the back.”

What Aravosis interprets as a stab in the back to homosexuals was actually more of sidestep around the Defense of Marriage Act. Although the act clearly defines marriage as the legal union of one man and one woman, the president ignored this law of the land and gave the following benefits to homosexual federal employees and their same-sex partners:

• Same-sex partners can access the government's long-term care insurance;

• Same-sex partners of foreign-service employees can make use of overseas medical facilities and can be evacuated when needed;

• Same-sex partners and their children will be included when determining family size for housing overseas;

• When same-sex partners or their children are ill, the federal employee can use sick time to care for them;

• Transgender employees are now covered by federal anti-discrimination rules.

If all these benefits constitute a stab in the back, one wonders what a pat on the back from Obama would have looked like. Family Research Council President Tony Perkins saw these moves for what they really are: “President Obama's planned Executive Order uses taxpayer money to placate an angry portion of his base at the expense of the rule of law.” Perkins’ statement at the Family Research Council website rightfully questions “whether the President has the authority to ignore DOMA and bypass the legislative process.”

Clearly, even the highest officer of the executive branch of government does not have any legislative power, and the president needs to carry out the law of the land, not step around it in order to grant special privileges to a group of people he hopes will pay him back with financial support. Ironically, Obama’s Department of Justice had only last week filed a brief to dismiss a federal lawsuit against the Defense of Marriage Act.

A homosexual couple in California had filed suit against DOMA by claiming it violated their rights. The Justice Department defended the act by basically stating that it had been validly decided by the legislature and should remain a legislative rather than a judicial matter. Come to think of it, this is possibly the back stab Aravosis was speaking of, and this may have cost President Obama the support of those homosexual fundraisers who withdrew from the Biden event. Regardless, President Obama is indeed helping to move the agenda of the homosexual lobby forward. Homosexual activists who protest that he is not doing enough are simply making the president's actions appear less radical by comparision.

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