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    March 26, 2009

    UAFA: new tactic

    Posted by: Andoni

    Immigration_reform_320

    In addition to the old plan of asking everyone to call or write their Senators and Representative to co-sponsor the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA, S. 424 or H.R. 1024), Immigration Equality is adding a second tactic -- asking everyone to spread the message that UAFA has to be part of any comprehensive immigration reform bill.

    Fact: it is quite likely that there will be a comprehensive immigration reform bill this year. As a result we are now on a two track strategy, lobbying for UAFA as a freestanding bill and UAFA as part of comprehensive reform. To not try to be part of the comprehensive bill would be foolish because if it passes it is quite likely that Congress will not want to deal with any immigration issue again for many years. They will say immigration is now fixed, regardless of the facts.

    In a good sign, the White House says it supports family unification for bi-national gay couples. According to a Bay Windows article:

    Asked about Obama’s stance on UAFA [the Uniting American Families Act] and the likelihood of its inclusion in comprehensive immigration legislation, White House spokesman Shin Inouye said in a statement that: “The president thinks Americans with partners from other countries should not be faced with a painful choice between staying with their partner or staying in their country. We will work closely with Congress to craft comprehensive immigration reform legislation.”

    This is a huge step. Now we have to make sure that Congress agrees with this. So continue those letters and calls. In my many years of lobbying, I have found that a hand written letter gets the most attention in Congress. If you need help in crafting a message here is suggestion from Immigration Equality. They have a tool so you can email your member in less than 30 seconds. Then you can get family and friends in the act by sharing their email addresses.

    But remember, if you have 5 minutes, a handwritten letter works wonders.

    Finally, here is a list of Representatives that normally support LGBT issues but have not co-sponsored UAFA yet. If you live in their district, they should be ripe for co-sponsoring, so contact them.

    Rob Andrews (D-NJ)
    Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL)
    Robert Brady (D-PA)
    Kathy Castor (D-FL)
    Charles Gonzalez (D-TX)
    Patrick Kennedy (D-RI)
    Mary Jo Kilroy (D-OH)
    Zoe Lofgren (D-CA)
    Jim McDermott (D-WA)
    Patrick Murphy (D-PA)
    Frank Pallone (D-NJ)
    Joe Sestak (D-PA)
    Edolphus Towns (D-NY)

    And here is a list of Senators that should be co-sponsoring, but to date have not. If any one of these is your Senator, contact them:

    Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)
    Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)
    Richard Durban (D-IL)
    Herbert Kohl (D-WI)
    Edward Kaufman (D-DE)
    Arlen Specter (R-PA)

    March 24, 2009

    Selling insurance to A.I.G. executives

    Posted by: Andoni

    Aig-insurance

    A.I.G.'s main business is selling insurance to others. Now however, in a sort of perverse role reversal, we are selling life insurance to executives at A.I.G. Let me explain.

    When A.I.G. paid bonuses to people in their credit-default swap division (the division that ruined the company and brought the world's financial system to the brink of collapse), this outraged the public so much that Congress tried to pass a questionably constitutional targeted and punitive tax law to claw back the money.

    However, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo came up with a better way. He simply subpoenaed the names of those executives who received the bonuses and threatened to make them public.

    Due to the public outrage, busloads of people took tours of the homes of some known A.I.G. executives this past weekend, protesting. These were simply A.I.G. executives, not the people who got the bonuses. I'm sure the release of all the names of the people who received the unpopular bonuses would lead to more than tours of their homes. Web pages would appear with their names, addresses, photos and maps of where they live. It certainly would not be pretty.

    What Attorney General Cuomo has done is offer these bonus recipients a neat little specialized insurance product that protects them from this happening. The premium for this insurance? It just so happens that the coverage costs the exact dollar amount of each person's bonus. Return the bonus money and your name won't be released. I guess you could call this a "your life for your bonus default swap."

    So far 9 of A.I.G.'s top 10 bonus recipients have purchased Attorney General Cuomo's insurance product.

    As I pointed out in a previous post, about half of the bonus recipients are UK citizens and cannot be touched by US law.

    March 21, 2009

    UPDATE: Julian Bond's speech

    Posted by: Andoni

    I dubbed it the best speech in favor of gay rights that you may ever hear. Several people commented that it is easy to give such a rousing pro-active speech to a gay white audience, but does he have to courage to talk like that to black audiences?

    The answer is in from Winston Johnston, the person Bond alludes to in minute 24 of the speech. It's YES.

    I ran into Winston at a book signing for Nathaniel Frank. (BTW, it's not too late to buy a copy of Unfriendly Fire, How the Gay Ban Undermines the Military and Weakens America to send to a member of Congress).

    When I asked Winston if Julian Bond talks to African American audiences the same way he talked at the HRC dinner, he said definitely yes and cited several first hand accounts. Read about them here.

    Introducing: The Omnibus Gay Rights Bill

    Posted by: Andoni

    AAA equal

    Finally, someone has put together an Omnibus Gay Rights Bill.

    Officially called the Equality & Religious Freedom Act Proposal (Omnibus Equality Bill, for short), it is the work of eQualityGiving.org, a group composed of LGBT major donors and activists.

    Tired of the piecemeal approach for equal rights taken by our leadership over the past 15 (or more) years, eQualityGiving decided to put it all on the table. If the goal is LGBT equality, let's spell out exactly what that means at the federal level -- in one bill. This is a very comprehensive, very well thought out proposal that has been months in the making. It is more than just the sum of the parts of our current proposals before Congress.

    There are the major pros and cons of this approach. Critics will say that this bill is DOA. There is no way Congress will do all this. We aren't equal, we aren't close to being equal and they simply won't do it. Besides, a bill that encompasses so many issues will be split up and sent to a dozen different Congressional committees based on legislative jurisdiction, where it will turn into mincemeat when finished .....if it ever survives any of the committees.

    The pro side says that we need to show Congress what true equality really looks like for the LGBT community. When you spell out what true equality is, it is glaringly obvious that we are second class citizens at best and in many cases -- non citizens. At the least this proposal can be used as the gold standard, the measuring stick, against which all piecemeal legislation will be measured.

    So after ENDA (the Employment Non Discrimination Act) is passed and everyone says, wow how great, we can point to the Equality Bill and say, OK, that's a little bit of what is necessary, but look at how much is still missing. I think that alone makes this bill worthwhile to have around.

    A lot of work by a lot of smart and enthusiastic people went into crafting this proposed legislation. I think you should take a look at it to see how good it is. It addresses everything but marriage at the state level, which is not a federal issue.

    Feel free to tell us what you think.

    Full disclosure: I am a member of eQualityGiving.

    March 18, 2009

    A.I.G. and Congressional blowhards

    Posted by: Andoni

    It's amazing to see the tirade in Congress over the $165 million in bonuses that have been paid to employees of A.I.G.'s credit swap derivatives division in London. That's the division that took the company to insolvency and the world to the brink of financial disaster.

    Am I happy about these bonuses? Absolutely not. I'm very angry about it. In fact I'm sick over the whole A.I.G. mess. But what I suggest is that what we see going on in Washington over A.I.G. is 535 adults acting like children.

    Consider the following:
    1. these A.I.G. employees are based in London. Unless any are U.S. citizens, all the proposals to claw back 99% of the money by raising the income tax on them won't apply. These people are British citizens. You would have to get the British government to go along and pass similar laws. This is a feel good solution that won't work.

    2. many of the same individuals who are now advocating for the heavy hand of government to get that money back, just a few weeks ago were screaming that we shouldn't convert our government to the heavy hand of nationalism or socialism. Is there a short term memory problem among these people?

    3. to get the money back, these people are willing to write new laws that apply only to a very small subset of people who have angered them to put the full force of the United States government to go after them. Any reading of the new law makes it very transparent that this was not a general law for all, but a targeted law to get specific people. Is this constitutional? I don't think so. Is this the type of government we want- one that crushes people out of anger? No. If we do this once, I guarantee we will go down this path again and again for more and larger groups of people who get us angry.

    I think most of the Members of Congress spewing their hot air realize the above three points.

    That makes them irresponsible panderers, hypocrites, and opportunists. They are not rational thinking leaders. They are one celled animals simply reacting to external stimuli. And that's sad to see.

    March 17, 2009

    Gay rights are civil rights; cafeteria Christians

    Posted by: Andoni


    This may be the best speech you will ever hear in support of gay rights.

    NAACP Board Chair Julian Bond addressed the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Dinner in Los Angeles last Saturday night and made one of the clearest and most compelling cases for gay rights ever. It is definitely worth your time to hear what this dynamic African American leader has to say on gay rights. In his speech, he makes innumerable good points, including:

    1. Gay rights indeed are civil rights.

    2. Like race, our sexuality isn’t a preference. It is immutable; it is unchangeable.  And the constitution protects us against prejudices and discrimination based on immutable differences.

    3. Too many Christians are cafeteria Christians. They choose item A from the Bible, then go on to ignore items B through Z (minute 14:30 of the speech).

    4. It isn't special to be free from discrimination. It is our ordinary entitlement of citizenship.

    It's wonderful to hear Bond, a straight black male, support gay rights with such credibility and grace.

    After watching this speech twice, I had the following random thoughts:

    1. Wouldn't it be great if we had a gay leader with Bond's gravitas who can speak as eloquently and passionately about our rights?

    2. Thank God that my friend Winston Johnson came out to Coretta Scott King back in 1988 and asked her to support our cause (minute 24 of the speech).

    3. Wouldn't it be nice if we could get a movement going to send thousand of copies (DVD, CD, tape) of this speech to the justices of the California Supreme Court to encourage them to grow a backbone to make their decision on Prop 8 more like Brown v Board of Education rather than the Dred Scott Decision.

    March 16, 2009

    WaPo endorses UAFA

    Posted by: Andoni

    AA WaPo

    In another good sign for the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA), today the Washington Post ran an editorial endorsing this legislation.

    UAFA (S. 424, H.R. 1024) seems to be on a roll. It's up to 90 co-sponsors in the House and 15 co-sponsors in the Senate. Some of you have commented that this blog is all UAFA, all the time. That's not really true, but I try to update folks when appropriate because this issue is very important to many readers.

    This issue is not your typical immigraton issue. It's not about illegal immigrants. This issue is about US citizens and for US citizens. It would simply grant a gay citizen the same (think equal) right that a straight citizen currently has to sponsor their foreign born partner to live in the US. That's all it is -- it's a citizenship right. Often times people hear the word immigration - and immediately start thinking on the wrong tangent.

    Immigration Equality is the LGBT organization trumpeting this bill in conjunction with lead sponsors Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Cong. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY).

    March 15, 2009

    Prohibition and gay rights

    Posted by: Andoni

    AAA prohibition

    History repeats itself. That is the theme in Frank Rich's wonderful Op Ed The Culture Warriors Get Laid Off in today's New York Times.

    According to Rich, we are entering a new period where the public has again tired of the anti-science, let me impose my values on you crowd. After the major economic downturn we have experienced over the past year, the culture wars are a luxury we can no longer afford. The same sort of cultural reversal happened in 1933 during The Great Depression.

    In the period leading up to the Depression fundamentalists pushed for Prohibition and anti-evolution legislation - succeeding on both counts. The Depression ended all that nonsense. In the period leading up to today's great recession, the fundamentalists peddled an anti-gay, anti-stem cell research agenda and also succeeded broadly.

    Now history is repeating itself. Anti-stem cell research was reversed last week by President Obama with only a whimper from the religious right and public opinion is showing majority support on most of the crucial gay rights issues - employment, the military, and our relationships.

    We need to take advantage of this moment in history. FDR demonstrated that a president can lead a nation to reform on cultural issues when the country's mood changes. Obama should follow that example. As the saying goes - it is his moment, it is his time.

    March 13, 2009

    Will he or won't he?

    Posted by: Andoni

    AAA Barack
    The New York Times says President Barack Obama is in a tough spot with regard to whether he should allow the federal government to provide health insurance benefits to partners of same sex couples as two California federal appeals court judges ruled yesterday.

    The Office of Personnel Management has instructed insurers not to obey the judges' order because of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). And of course religious conservatives such as Gary Bauer, president of American Values, are threatening (in an almost gleeful manner) that if Obama provides these benefits it will reinvigorate the conservative coalition. To complicate all this further is the fact that Obama's designated, but unconfirmed, new director of the Office of Personnel Management is M. John Berry, a gay man.

    The judges' ruling was not the result of of a lawsuit but as part of a ruling as employers resolving employee grievances.

    I don't think Obama is in as tough a position as the Times says he is. He should simply say this is not about marriage, it's about equal pay for equal work. The partner benefits are part of the pay package for federal employees and the federal government cannot and will not be part of discrimination that pays some employees less than others for the exact same work. He can even say, "Let me be clear about this" so we know he means business.

    There really is no other way to provide equality, because the insurance package is more than just the money involved to pay for the partner's insurance; a major benefit is the access to that insurance as well. In most instances the partner would not be able to buy this good insurance on their own.

    Unfortunately, the IRS will tax this insurance benefit as income, which is patently unfair, but that's a different matter that is best left to fight about on another day.



    March 11, 2009

    Send Congress a DADT Message

    Posted by: Andoni


    When the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT) policy is gone and buried, Nathaniel Frank's new book "Unfriendly Fire, How the Gay Ban Undermines the Military" will be credited as having put the last nail in the coffin of this inane, discriminatory policy.

    This is a wonderfully written scholarly work that conclusively proves that the gay ban actually weakens the military, rather than helps it.

    In a fascinating program that the author has arranged with certain book stores, if you buy a copy of the book, a second copy will be offered to you at half price which will be sent to a US Congressman or Senator's office, to convince them (or their staff) that "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" actually harms the military. Once all 535 members of Congress have received the book via this program, they will start sending copies to generals in the Pentagon.

    Frank interviewed hundreds of people for this book, and one hopeful fact is that many people in the Pentagon now admit that they were wrong when they supported this policy 15 years ago. They now acknowledge that the policy was based solely on ignorance and prejudice.

    If your local bookstore does not offer the special deal to send a second copy of the book to a member of Congress, our gay bookstore in Atlanta, Outwrite Bookstore and Coffehouse does, and they will be happy to help you. If for some reason you can't order online, their phone number is 404-607-0082.

    Above is the clip from Frank's interview on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart Monday night. Did you know that there is a "Queen for the Day" exception to the DADT policy? Watch the video and learn.

    March 09, 2009

    Wise ... or crazy idea to solve the housing problem?

    Posted by: Andoni

    AA burn house

    In what I took as a joke, my financial adviser suggested the other day, that the answer to the current housing mess is for the government to buy up all the foreclosed houses......... and then burn them down. Fewer houses, higher prices.

    Would this work and if yes, how evil is it?

    Most people would agree that falling housing prices is at the heart of our current economic crisis. When housing prices were going up, people used those rising prices like ATM machines, taking the money from the increased value of their house and spending on just about anything they wanted. Right or wrong, real wealth or fake wealth, they were spending money and that kept the economy purring.

    Now housing prices are crashing. The ATM machines are out of money. People aren't spending, businesses are hurting -- laying people off, and the economy is tanking. On top of this, falling housing prices have caused the mortgages held by our biggest banks and insurance companies to become toxic assets and as a result the entire financial system is teetering on collapse.

    If only housing prices could change course and increase in value a little bit, things would markedly improve. I'm not advocating that prices rapidly rise to the bubble levels. However, just a little increase would help a lot...  and that would begin a major turn around for the economy.

    President Obama's $75 billion housing plan focuses on keeping the people who are about to lose their house or cannot afford their mortgage any more to refinance and remain in their house. It does nothing to take the 2 million houses that are already foreclosed off the market. However, it does prevent another 9 million houses from joining those 2 million. Eleven million houses on the foreclosure market would result in an unprecedented housing collapse. Obama's idea is to keep more houses from going into foreclosure, thereby hopefully putting a floor under the price of houses. This floor will not result in higher housing prices anytime soon, which is what we really need at this point. Under Obama's plan that won't happen until demand starts outstripping supply, and we don't know when that will be.

    The plan in paragraph one, decreases supply, and would have an immediate effect beginning to increase housing prices.

    The median price of a US home is about $200,000, but at foreclosure the banks are are lucky to get 50% of that and in many areas only 25%. In the Detroit area, foreclosed houses are selling for $1. How many foreclosed homes can the government buy if they decided to put another $75 billion into a plan to buy foreclosed houses and "burn them down?"  They could easily take about one million houses off the market with this amount of money, causing the average price of a house to rise, thereby taking the pressure off our financial institutions holding toxic loans.

    Can the government actually institute a program to burn houses down? I don't really think so. Burning down a house that a family used to live in would be politically impossible. Can you imagine the public outcry of such a scene on TV when the former family has no place to live?

    Secondly, the minute the government starting buying these homes on a grand scale, winning bids at auction would begin to rise because everyone would know that the government is in there bidding now. But isn't that exactly what we're trying to achieve - higher home prices? So the government could actually stop entering the market when it is clear that housing prices are on the rise. This could actually happen before they buy up a million homes.

    Certainly burning a foreclosed house down to decrease supply wouldn't fly politically. But what if the government bought these house and then sold them for scrap?

    How crazy an idea is this?

    March 06, 2009

    Dred Scott & the CA Supreme Court

    Posted by: Andoni

    CA

    I watched online the entire oral arguments at the CA Supreme Court yesterday challenging the legitimacy of Prop 8. I must say, I was quite disheartened when it was all over. Our side's argument that Prop 8 was a constitutional revision (major change requiring a higher bar) versus an amendment (simple change requiring a lower bar) pretty much fell on deaf ears.

    Chief Justice Ronald George pretty much summed it up when he suggested that maybe the real problem is that the California constitution is just too easy to change by amendment, having been done over 500 times, and that maybe it should be made more difficult to amend. My first thought was well, yes, but please don't change the rules now that we will probably have to go back to the people to amend again in order to get Prop 8 out of the constitution. Wouldn't that be the irony of ironies... they change the rules to make amendments more difficult to pass after we've been screwed, just in time for when we have to get something passed to undo the damage. Wouldn't that be great?

    There was a line of reasoning during the case that didn't pass my logic test. The California constitution refers to the inalienable rights of all Californians to life, liberty, etc. But the justices also kept referring to the inalienable right of the people to change the constitution. The justices chose to think that the inalienable right of the people collectively to change the constitution (a simple majority) outweighed any inalienable rights of any individual or minority. This translates into the inalienable rights of the majority is more powerful than the inalienable rights of the minority. That means the majority rules the minority, regardless of inalienable rights.

    Conclusion: there are no inalienable rights -- it's simply a matter of majority rules.

    I can't imagine that is what the framers of the CA constitution had in mind when they wrote the constitution and described inalienable rights. If the that is what the CA Supreme Court decides, then the document is internally inconsistent.

    Another point that got me angry was that the justices seemed to admit that it was indeed unfair for a simple majority to take rights away from a minority. They also said it would be unfair to those already married to have their marriages nullified. Both things unfair. But they chose reasoning that seemed to indicate that they would allow the first unfairness to stand, and somehow were finding reasons that the second unfairness should not stand.

    My take-away is that the court would rule against the Prop 8 challengers (our side) and say Prop 8 is valid, but allow those 18,000 marriages to stand. Maybe they believe that by doing this they will seem more moderate, coming down on both sides of the issue giving the Prop 8 supporters a win, while also giving us a little something.

    From my personal perspective (not married in CA or living in CA), I would rather that if we are defeated on Prop 8 the question, that they also rule to un-do all those marriages already performed. My reasoning is that this will demonstrate to the public more fully the damage they have wrought by voting for Prop 8 and it will demonstrate the real agenda of the religious right. If those 18,000 marriages are undone, I believe, we have a better chance of winning in 2010 when we try to overturn Prop 8. It will be crystal clear to the voters in the middle how damaging Prop 8 really was.

    Finally, I was dismayed by the totally slavish way the justices felt their hands were tied by precedent (in the amendment versus revision question) even as they were simultaneously saying how they could see that it was unfair that a simple majority could remove a fundamental right from a minority. And they were simultaneously acknowledging that this was a totally unique case- nothing like this had ever come before them. They were certainly in new territory.

    Well, news flash to the justices. When you are in totally uncharted territory you cannot go to the field manual they gave you in school. Old maps, precedents, etc don't apply! They won't work. Trying to apply old charts, rules, doctrines, to a totally new situation is what chained to the past people like Herbert Hoover do. In truly uncharted territory, smart people and true leaders find new ways to do the right thing and get to the right solution, even if it's not in the books. Think Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War or FDR during the Great Depression and World War II.

    I'm afraid that the CA Supreme Court is going to act more like bureaucratic lemmings using  inapplicable precedents to tackle a never before seen situation, rather than incorporating logic, wisdom, and creativity.

    In one of the most monumental cases ever before the CA Supreme Court, I'm afraid these justices are going to think like the justices who produced the Dred Scott decision, rather than the Brown v the Board of Education decision. The Dred Scott justices based their decision on the old manual; it was tethered to precedent and the past. The justices in Brown used logic, wisdom, and new thinking to move the people to a better place.

    I certainly hope I am wrong and will gladly admit it if I am.

    March 04, 2009

    Equal opportunity pork

    Posted by: Andoni

    AAA pork

    I watch the news every night, follow the Sunday morning talk shows, and try to catch bits and pieces of both CNN and Fox News during the day. From all of these sources, I have learned over the past couple of weeks that the $410 billion dollar Omnibus Budget bill is loaded with earmarks ... or so called pork. Furthermore, from listening to the Republicans complain on TV, I got the impression that it was all (or mostly) the Democrats' fault.

    Now Jamie Dupree points to a study from Taxpayers for Common Sense showing that the Republicans are just as much into pork as the Democrats are. The truth is that a few Republicans are anti-pork and are very vocal about it, but as a whole both Democrats and Republicans are equally into pork.

    As an example, here is a list of Senators who have the most earmarks (along with the number of earmarks) in the Omnibus bill:

    Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) - 134
    Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) - 71
    Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) - 65
    Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) - 64
    Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) - 60

    And here is a list of Senators with the most total dollar amount of earmarks:

    Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) - $122 million
    Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) - $114 million
    Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO) - $85 million
    Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) - $76 million
    Sen. Thad Cochran (R-AK) - $75 million

    You can slice this pie any way you want, but the bottom line is that both Republicans and Democrats are guilty of writing pet projects into legislation.

    And when it comes to Senators who did not ask for any earmarks, there are six, 3 Democrats and 3 Republicans:

    Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) - $0
    Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) - $0
    Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) - $0
    Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) - $0
    Sen. Clare McCaskill (D-MO) - $0
    Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) - $0

    It's just that the Republicans are the vocal ones, criticizing earmarks - making it an issue, and giving the impression that all Republicans are against earmarks. Not true.

    March 03, 2009

    Challenging DOMA, finally

    Posted by: Andoni

    AAA Studds
    Finally, someone is challenging the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in a smart fashion. The Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD, with one "A"), the same group that successfully challenged the marriage laws in MA and won -- resulting in the first state to perform same sex marriages, is now challenging DOMA. It isn't challenging all of DOMA, but only certain aspects of Section 3, the section that says that the federal government won't recognize same sex marriages.

    The legal group is honing in on "equal protection" of certain federal benefits that most Americans can relate to, such as Social Security survival benefits, joint filing of income taxes, retirement plans for federal employees, and passports. GLAD has found eight married couples and three widowers as plaintiffs for the suit. One is Dean Hara, former spouse of deceased Congressman Gerry Studds (D-MA), who was denied the Congressional pension and other benefits normally given to surviving spouses of federal employees.

    Will this work? I think it has a darn good chance. GLAD has a great track record of knowing when and how to challenge things. Because of the importance of this case, it is quite likely that the final word will be from the U.S. Supreme many years from now. But because it would be extremely difficult for the Court to enumerate exactly what rights and benefits Section 3 should exclude, it is quite likely that all of Section 3 would fall. That would mean any legal marriage would be eligible for those 1100+ federal benefits now denied gay married couples.

    What will be interesting for me is how vigorously the lawyers from the Obama Justice Department will defend this case. If Obama himself feels that all of DOMA is unconstitutional, can this be reflected by the Justice Department? And if the plaintiffs win in the First Circuit (Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Puerto Rico, and Rhode Island), would the Obama Administration appeal to the Supreme Court? Or would they let the decision stand, allowing most of New England to receive federal benefits for same sex marriage.

    I believe the most likely outcome of this lawsuit is that the publicity surrounding this case will shift public opinion into realizing the inherent unfairness of DOMA section 3, and that Congress will repeal that section before this case reaches the Supreme Court.



     
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