John Boehner, as Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, has decided to defend the unconstitutional law known as DOMA, the federal Defense of Marriage Act. Boehner’s lawyer, Paul Clement, filed documents in federal court this week — at the taxpayer’s expense, of course — which make rather nasty, offensive, and untrue accusations about the nature of same-sex relationships, marriage, and even about the nature of homosexuality. It’s bad enough when professional gay-haters like Maggie Gallagher and Bryan Fischer spew this hatred — after all, that’s how they make their living — but to have to hear it from our own government, paid for with our hard-earned tax dollars, well, that should be enough for every self-accepting gay man, lesbian, and bisexual and transgender American to vote Democratic in 2012.
Here’s the list, “Top Five Homophobic Statements From Boehner’s DOMA Briefs,” thanks to Zack Ford of Think Progress, who put together the five-point list below, and Joe Sudbay of AmericaBlog, whose work it’s based on– head over to both sites to see more, including direct quotes from the briefs.
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.
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 — they do. He even attempts to tell Ms. Windsor that she is wrong about her own sexual orientation.
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.
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.
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.
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