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03/01/2011

Truth: DOMA belies American promises; Fiction: President just realizing that now

by Jeremy Hooper

Candidate Obama vocally opposed the Defense of Marriage Act. Consistently. Strongly. Unapologetically.

But never mind that reality. In light of the administration's principled choice to drop DOMA defense, far-right personalities like Randy Thomasson have an "Obama lied to us" narrative to push:

"Barack Obama lied when he said he'd defend marriage for only a man and a woman," laments Thomasson. "And now Obama is following in the footsteps of another liar -- that's Jerry Brown of California." [ONN]

Look, it's one thing to not like the decision or to yourself defend DOMA as constitutional. But if you think the President lied about DOMA, then you were always hearing what you wanted to hear and not what he actually said. Because even while working annoying "marriage is one man, one woman" lines, Senator Obama (even state Senator Obama) was always strong in calling out this particular piece of legislation. President Obama is staying consistent.

The truth is that the DOJ's erstwhile DOMA defense was the anachronistic backslide, not last week's honorable choice. Which is why some of us on the side of equality were (rightly) pissed when we'd read such defense: Because we knew it flew in the face of the President's own understanding of constitutional law. We knew it was born out of politics, not intellect. We knew it was wrong-headed. And we knew the administration knew it/knows it too.

So if we must apply the Pinnocchio tale to the President, then nobody should look to the nose. On this DOMA matter, the more accurate allusion involves the strings, which we're thrilled the administration finally chose to cut.

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