Bil Browning

Q&A: Obama on DOMA's Future & Binational Couples

Filed By Bil Browning | September 28, 2011 5:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: Latino roundtable, Open for Questions, President Obama, Presidential roundtable

During an "Open for Questions" roundtable sponsored by the Latino community, President Obama was asked two LGBT-related questions. One question was about teen bullying and was aimed at Hispanic kids being bullied for their race, but the other one was directly queer.obama-respuesta-430vm092811.jpg

MR. LERNER [AOL Latino and Huff-Post Latino Voices]: Mr. President, on the Defense of Marriage Act, also called DOMA, this comes from Kevin in North Carolina. He says: I'm a gay American who fell in love with a foreigner. As you know, due to DOMA, I'm not permitted to sponsor my foreign-born partner for residency. And as a result, we are stuck between a rock and an impossible situation. How do you intend to fix this? Waiting for DOMA to be repealed or struck down in the courts will potentially take years. What do binational couples do in the meantime?

President Obama's answer after the jump. One interesting part that stands out - he doesn't think the end of DOMA will take years. It reads as if he thinks it'll be overturned during his term.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, we made a decision that was a very significant decision, based on my assessment of the Constitution, that this administration would not defend DOMA in the federal courts. It's not going to be years before this issue is settled. This is going to be settled fairly soon, because right now we have cases pending in the federal courts.

Administratively, we can't ignore the law. DOMA is still on the books. What we have said is even as we enforce it, we don't support it, we think it's unconstitutional. The position that my administration has taken I think will have a significant influence on the court as it examines the constitutionality of this law. And once that law is struck down -- and I don't know what the ruling will be -- then addressing these binational issues could flow from that decision, potentially.

I can't comment on where the case is going to go. I can only say what I believe, and that is that DOMA doesn't make sense; it's unfair; I don't think that it meets the demands of our Constitution. And in the meantime, if -- I've already said that I'm also supportive of Congress repealing DOMA on it's own and not waiting for the courts. The likelihood of us being able to get the votes in the House of Representatives for DOMA repeal are very low at this point so, truthfully, the recourse to the courts is probably going to be the best approach.


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