It’s offensive, it’s dismissive, it’s demeaning and — most importantly — it’s unnecessary. Even if one accepts that DOJ should have filed a brief opposing this case (and the facts do suggest some legitimate questions about standing), the gratuitous language used throughout the filing goes much further than was necessary to make its case.I'm referring, of course, to DOJ's motion to dismiss a challenge to the federal Defense of Marriage Act policy on Thursday afternoon.
It is entirely possible that the Obama administration sees this as a tacit request to gay-lesbian organizations to reach such a angry froth that public or congressional outrage forces him to do what he really wants anyway: repealing DOMA. We've been told over and over again by reporters how much Barack Obama analyzes each issue exhaustively before making decisions. Even if this were so, words and intentions matter little from a politician, especially one as smooth as Obama: only deeds do. This is a pretty disgusting deed.
So note the similarities between the language in the motion:
Plaintiffs also maintain that DOMA discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation, in violation of their right to the equal protection of the law, see Complaint, ¶ 20, but DOMA is not subject to heightened scrutiny on that basis. As an initial matter, plaintiffs misperceive the nature of the line that Congress has drawn. DOMA does not discriminate against homosexuals in the provision of federal benefits. To the contrary, discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is prohibited in federal employment and in a wide array of federal benefits programs by law, regulation, and Executive order.... Section 3 of DOMA does not distinguish among persons of different sexual orientations, but rather it limits federal benefits to those who have entered into the traditional form of marriage...and this decision:
When a man has emerged from slavery, and, by the aid of beneficent legislation, has shaken off the inseparable concomitants of that state, there must be some stage in the progress of his elevation when he takes the rank of a mere citizen and ceases to be the special favorite of the laws, and when his rights as a citizen or a man are to be protected in the ordinary modes by which other men's rights are protected. There were thousands of free colored people in this country before the abolition of slavery, enjoying all the essential rights of life, liberty and property the same as white citizens, yet no one at that time thought that it was any invasion of his personal status as a freeman because he was not admitted to all the privileges enjoyed by white citizens, or because he was subjected to discriminations in the enjoyment of accommodations in inns, public conveyances and places of amusement. Mere discriminations on account of race or color were not regarded as badges of slavery.The last quote is Joseph Bradley's opinion for the Supreme Court in the 1878 Civil Rights Cases, in which the Court argued that the Fourteenth Amendment does not protect black Americans from being refused admission to public places like inns and restaurants. The subtext of Bradley's opinion is, "If you're a ex-slave, get over it. You're only discriminated against if you choose to look at the situation that way."