As much as I am livid with the spineless sniveling Democrats and the Liar-in-Chief in the White House over the sell out to the Tea Party - a view apparently shared by Wall Street given the 257 point drop in the Dow AFTER passage of the debt ceiling deal today - the GOP as a whole continues to do all in its power to force LGBT Americans to vote Democrat and support Obama in 2012. Even if it involves holding one's nose and nearly vomiting in the process.
Why would I say this?
Yesterday, attorney Paul Clement filed briefs in defense of the the Defense of Marriage Act in court. To put it politely, the briefs look as if they were prepared by Tony Perkins, Maggie Gallagher and/or the foul folks at the dead Jerry Falwell's Liberty counsel. Clement rolls out all the favorite right-wing Christianist lies (remember, the truth means nothing to "godly Christianists) and, candidly, ought to be sanctioned for making false statements to the court. Think Progress has put together the nastiest elements of the brief's filed at the behest of John Boehner and the Christianists in the GOP.
Here's a summary (Note: have your barf bag close at hand):
1. GAYS HAVE NOT HISTORICALLY FACED DISCRIMINATION: Ignoring the fact that there have been laws against homosexuality for about as long as people have been publicly out, Clement argues that anti-gay discrimination is a "unique and relatively short-lived product of the twentieth century." Worse yet, Clement argues that because things are getting better, any arguable history of discrimination is irrelevant:
"Moreover, whatever the historical record of discrimination, the most striking factor is how quickly things are changing through the normal democratic processes on issues ranging from same-sex marriage to "Don't Ask Don't tell" and beyond. Historical discrimination alone never has been a basis for heightened scrutiny. Courts apply a multi-factor test that focuses on current reality and cautions against unnecessarily taking issues away from the normal democratic process."
2. SEXUAL ORIENTATION IS A CHOICE: Clement's argument against the immutability of sexual orientation is shallow and duplicitous. He points out that people "choose" to identify as gay, confusing selecting one's orientation with identifying with it. He suggests that if sexual orientation were immutable, it could be determined at birth. And most deceptively, he implies that because scientists have not agreed upon a clear cause for sexual orientation,they do not have consensus that it is not a conscious choice -- while, in fact, they do. He even attempts to tell Ms. Windsor that she is wrong about her own sexual orientation:
"Whether a classification is "immutable" is of course a legal conclusion -- not a scientific one -- and the Attorney General's selective reading of scientific evidence warrants no deference from this Court. His conclusion and the Plaintiff's argument are also both wrong."
3. GAYS HAVE PLENTY OF POLITICAL POWER: Despite the fact that gays and lesbians constitute only a small percentage of the population and have been discriminated against by majority votes for decades, Clement tries to make the case that gays are not "politically powerless," one of the qualifications for heightened scrutiny. By selectively highlighting successes and positive polling around LGBT equality, he paints a false picture of how rosy life is for gays and lesbians, snidely using the Department of Justice's stance against DOMA to make his point:
"Plaintiff appears oblivious to the irony of maintaining that homosexuals have limited political power in a case in which her position is supported by both the State of New York and the United States Department of Justice. In light of the latter's longstanding duty to defend the constitutionality of federal statutes, its decision to decline to defend the constitutionality of DOMA, and instead adopt the very position advocated by Plaintiff, is particularly telling."
4. SAME-SEX COUPLES MAKE BAD PARENTS: One of Congress's rationales for passing DOMA was the idea of "responsible procreation," the idea that opposite-sex couples were better suited to raising children and thus marriage was a privilege reserved for them. In order to defend this idea, Clement must challenge scientific consensus on the existing research that shows same-sex parents to be equally as effective, and so he does:
"Plaintiff's claim of a clear expert consensus is overstated. Indeed, the evidence relied upon by Plaintiff's own expert demonstrates that studies comparing gay or lesbian parents to heterosexual parents have serious flaws."
5. THE INSTITUTION OF MARRIAGE MUST BE PROTECTED: Implicit in all arguments against marriage equality is the fear-mongering claim that somehow allowing same-sex couples to marry will destroy the "institution" of marriage. Indeed, Clement has made it clear he will argue that marriage must be "defended" from "redefinition." He also implies that the benefits that same-sex marriages would be afforded would be an undue financial burden for the government:
"In this litigation, Defendant discusses in its motion to dismiss and memorandum in support thereof, and in its opposition to Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment, the following particular rational justifications: defending and nurturing the institution of marriage by acting with proper caution in the face of the unknown consequences of a proposed novel redefinition of the foundational social institution of marriage; protecting the public fisc and preserving the balance struck by earlier Congresses in allocating federal burdens and benefits; maintaining consistency in eligibility for federal benefits based on marital status; defending and nurturing the institution of marriage by avoiding the creation of a social understanding that begetting and rearing children is not inextricably bound up with the institution of marriage; and defending and nurturing the institution of marriage by creating legal structures that make it more likely that children will be raised by parents of both sexes."
As I said, one would think that the most gay-hating Christianst wrote this brief. No wonder King & Spaulding gave Clement his walking papers.
In my opinion, his brief is tantamount to downright unethical and fraudulent.