On Friday, February 22, the Obama administration submitted a brief calling on the U.S. Supreme Court to rule the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional. While this has only increased speculation that the president will also weigh in on California Proposition 8, they have until Thursday, February 28 to do so.
Considering the president took a stance on the controversial issue of gay marriage during a far more risky time—the 2012 U.S. Presidential election—this action at this time came as no surprise. But the premise in which they challenged DOMA is more tenuous with Prop 8 because the denial of federal benefits which the brief describes as discriminatory would no longer apply to those unable to marry in California if DOMA is overturned.
Right-wing anti-gay marriage supporters of Prop 8 like Protect Marriage have continued to hold that the law is not discriminatory because those in the lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and trans-gender (LGBT) community are covered by California's domestic-partner and anti-discrimination laws. They also contend that traditional marriage protects "society's vital interests in the uniquely procreative nature of opposite-sex relationships."
Organizations that claim to be representing Christianity cannot be involved in such blatant misinformation just so they can legislate their faith in a democracy. If it is not intentional, it is at the very least irresponsibly negligent.
First and foremost, domestic partner and anti-discrimination laws are not equal to marriage. A marriage is harder for a family to challenge, the rights are more extensive, begin immediately and are automatically recognized in any state. Furthermore, if marital rights are tied to procreation, couples too old, sterile or simply not wanting children would be unprotected.
Still, the Obama administration will have to find a new basis to challenge Prop 8 if they want it to truly aid the plaintiffs (Jeff Zarillo, Paul Katami, Kristen Perry and Sandy Stier) challenge in the Supreme Court.