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05/17/2011

Gov. Walker's new fight: A quandary for the 'must defend DOMA/Prop 8' crowd

by Jeremy Hooper

It will be interesting to see how the anti-LGBT crowd reacts to this:

Madison - Gov. Scott Walker believes a new law that gives gay couples hospital visitation rights violates the state constitution and has asked a judge to allow the state to stop defending it.
Walker seeks to stop defense of state's domestic partner registry [JS Online]

We say "interesting," because none of them can, in good conscience, both get behind this and chastise California officials who won't defend Prop 8 or the Obama administration for not defending DOMA. Because that's exactly what Gov. Walker (R-WI) is seeking to do here: Drop defense of a law that he believes violates the constitution (just like the state's Republican Attorney General, J.B. Van Hollen, has also been claiming for years). What's the difference between this effort and the DOMA/Prop 8 scenarios?

Well the difference, obviously, is merit. Prop 8 is unconstitutional. The so-called Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional. The Wisconsin domestic partner registry is not. We're confident that the courts will ultimately bear us out on this. But in the meantime: Those who chastise President Barack Obama, Gov. Jerry Brown (D-CA), Attorney General Kamala Harris (D-CA), or anyone else on their own lack of defenses now have two options: To repudiate their outrage over pro-equality procedure and get behind this Walker effort, or to equally condemn this Walker maneuvering regardless of their own views pertaining to the righteousness of his goal. The "protect marriage" crowd can't have it both ways.

**

*Oh, and we should say that we can't have it both ways either. And we don't want it. While on merit we disagree with Gov. Walker's effort wholeheartedly and, in fact, see it as a downright attack on our families, we support his right to use the courts/not maintain defense in the way he sees fit under the constitution. Justice will hopefully play out the way it should, legally, under law.

***

*EARLIER: We noted this quandary before, regarding the Alliance Defense Fund and the way they applauded A.G. Van Hollen yet chastised then-A.G. Brown: Alliance Defense Fund: Loves A.G. refusals in Central time, not so much in Pacific [G-A-Y]

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