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House Court Memo: Gays Are Politically Powerful

House Court Memo: Gays Are Politically Powerful
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The U.S. House’s team of lawyers defending the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) submitted a court memorandum Monday in which they argued that lesbian, gay and bisexual people do not have a history of discrimination, that they are not a cognizable group, and that gays are politically powerful.

The brief was filed by lawyer Paul Clement and team on behalf of the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the House of Representatives in the case Windsor v. United States where New York resident Edie Windsor is challenging the exorbitantly high inheritance tax penalty on her late wife’s estate levied because DOMA means the federal government treats married same–sex partners as legal strangers.

Both President Obama and the attorney general for the state of New York have filed briefs in support of the plaintiff who is calling for a summary judgement on the constitutionality of DOMA from the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. BLAG’s  memo argues against this.

In the memorandum, BLAG lawyers charge that President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder are incorrect in not defending DOMA and are in fact cherry picking data by refusing to defend the Defense of Marriage Act on the grounds that sexuality is an immutable characteristic. BLAG lawyers argue that there is no proven biological basis for this statement, and that scientists have not determined a cause for homosexuality, writing, ”Whether a classification is ‘immutable’ is of course a legal conclusion – not a scientific one – and the Attorney General’s selective reading of scientific evidence warrants no deference from this Court. His conclusion and the Plaintiff’s argument are also both wrong.”

As is the case with much in the BLAG memo however, one can easily turn this around and say that there is no accepted scientific proof that homosexuality is either a choice or a condition that can be overcome, and therefore a view of homosexuality as immutable — a characteristic beyond a person’s control — seems well supported and in keeping with a resounding wealth of scientific and psychological studies. I would also add that just because science has not yet determined a concrete biological component to homosexuality does not mean that there is an absence of evidence to suggest there is at least some biological factor – to suggest otherwise, as BLAG’s lawyers seem to do, is intellectually dishonest.

NEXT PAGE: BLAG lawyers argue gays have no history.

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10:15PM PDT on Aug 5, 2011

I'm wondering , if,indeed "gays are powerful" why have they been discriminated against for so long? Why are they the object of BULLYING? Why are the Republicans still fighting against ALL marriages being EQUAL? IS somebody fooling themselves? ME thinks SOMEBODY is spending A LOT of MONEY and EFFORT to supress the CIVIL RIGHTS of these POWERFUL AMERICAN CITIZENS.

10:15AM PDT on Aug 5, 2011

Actually the Roman Empire fell after it became Christian and turned against freedom of sexuality and freedom of thought.

9:35AM PDT on Aug 5, 2011

OK, so there are three main points to their argument that gay and bisexual people (#1) do not have a history of discrimination, (#2) they are not a cognizable group, and (#3) gays are politically powerful. Now, right off, doesn't #3 negate #2? I mean, they certainly seem to 'recognize' the LGBT community when it is out marching, protesting, and filing suits in courts.

It is true that the term "Homosexual(ity)" was coined in the late 19th century by a German psychologist, Karoly Maria Benkert. Prior to that, same sex people were just having relations(hips) with each other. It was only with the rise of the new science of psychology that a new term was needed to define and describe behaviors which already existed. It is unclear how much negative connotation was originally included. However, the Judeo-Christian prejudice was certainly present from the beginning.

As for civilizations crumbling: name one that hasn't - regardless of its stand on homosexuality? And, at the same time, are we not the latest morph of Western Civilization (with ever increasing contributions from Eastern Civilization) stretching back all the way to Greece, and possibly the earlier Minoans on Crete? Yes, empires, nations, countries come and go; but the civilization continues.

Sad to say, but they do seem like doomed men on a sinking ship.

9:21AM PDT on Aug 5, 2011

Bravo!!! Britin J. but people beware what you wish for...remember the supremes are 5 to 4 homophobes. Keep letting your senators know you want DOMA ended..

8:40AM PDT on Aug 5, 2011

What a large pile of male bovine excerement! That's Bullsh!t for the pc crowd!

Hey Jack@sses: Here's another "straight" person for "gay" rights! I don't care who you want to "hook up" with, it's your business and your business alone. Just as what I do with anyone else is between me, my partner, and the four walls, so it should be with everyone else!

The majority of the populace supports the repeal of this horrble amendment, yet our "elected" officials continue to ignore it..... MMMMMM, thinking a change of the guard is in order....

8:33AM PDT on Aug 5, 2011

How does a disorder become a right?
The Nazis in Germany were also powerful politically and they were also an aberration!

8:28AM PDT on Aug 5, 2011

We have heard these arguments before applied to other minorities. However, some of our recent victories for equality were won only after many long years of fighting for equality. This does not indicate political power, but rather hard political struggle. Furthermore, key victories for equality still need to be won. One of these in the United States is true equality in civil marriage rights. Another is ensuring all schools and school districts have and enforce anti-bullying policies that include strategies to confront homophobic and transphobic bullying.

And yes, we DO have a history– a very rich history of contributing to the betterment of society as well as struggle for equality and liberation. Just like opponents of civil rights for African Americans wanted to pretend there was no such thing as an African-American history, it is a convenient argument for those opposed to equality rights to say the same thing about LGBT people.

As for the argument that societies and cultures "that every civilization has crumbled" (and citing the Roman Empire) this is false. In fact, the Roman Empire crumbled after homosexuality was suppressed under Christian rule. This does not mean the Roman Empire crumbled as a result of Christianity either. It crumbled because it had expanded so much it was no longer able to maintain control and dominance over vast territories and diverse peoples. This was also the reason that led to the decline of the British Empire, the Third Reich

7:42AM PDT on Aug 5, 2011

The brief is so absurd on the face of it that I'm optimistic about the overturn of DOMA. No court not unanimously stacked with raging homophobes could possibly buy this "logic."

7:15AM PDT on Aug 5, 2011

One more reason DOMA must DIE !!!!!!!

6:46AM PDT on Aug 5, 2011


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