White House Not Budging on Gay Marriage
BY Kerry Eleveld
July 01 2010 6:50 PM ET
Metro Weekly asked about the White House’s lack of communication around defending DADT and DOMA in the courts and whether officials could clarify their rationale for doing so.
Barnes: Across the board ... there is a constant effort to better communicate the message and better communicate what we’re doing.
I would imagine that ... when there’s a filing, that it scrapes at the scab one more time. That it reminds people of the posture of the government one more time. But that doesn’t change the rationale behind what we have to do. I think the president has said this ... we can’t pick and choose the laws that we defend.
There may be a fraction of a fraction of a percentage of examples where the government has not defended a law that’s on the books. But we believe, the president believes, that given his office, he has to defend the law. But at the same time, I think we have done a better job of indicating in the briefs that that doesn’t mean we don’t believe that DOMA is discriminatory.
Pam’s House Blend asked, “Why brief us now ... this would have been much more productive if it had happened earlier on.” PHB also noted much displeasure among the LGBT grass roots and expressed concern that the only place the White House is getting its information from is the Human Right Campaign.
Barnes: First of all I would say, we are here now, and that reflects the desire to be engaged ... I would also say I believe my colleagues who are in the communications office and outreach office have had … very frequent communications and conversations with those of you seated at this table and others who aren’t at this table … There’s always a desire and an effort to do better, that's why we're sitting here now.
Keen News Service questioned why the president would defend laws that are unconstitutional, specifically DOMA.
Barnes: Because right now, it’s the law of the land. ... We believe that it’s our obligation to defend the law, if Congress had a rational basis for passing the law.
The president hasn’t made an argument about the constitutionality of the law, he’s just said that it’s discriminatory.
AmericaBlog asked whether the White House would "actively oppose" any amendments on the senate floor to the DADT repeal measure that might weaken or kill the measure.
Barnes: What I can tell you is that when we see any amendments that are filed, that we will continue to do what we did through the process in the House, which is, work to move this forward. Obviously if there is an effort to undermine repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" the president will fight -- wouldn't be supportive of that. At the same time, I can't sit here and walk through hypotheticals for amendments that I haven't seen or that haven't been filed.
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