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Posted at 12:33 PM ET, 02/23/2011

Defense of Marriage Act decision adds to list of gay rights victories

By Ed O'Keefe
Gay rights advocates march by the White House Oct. 11, 2009. (AP)

The Obama administration's decision to no longer defend the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act adds to a growing list of victories for gay rights groups that have sought changes to how the federal government treats gay men and lesbians through a series of executive actions and legislation.

We've reviewed this growing list of changes before, but it's worth a refresher:

May 24, 2009: Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announces plans to extend a series of benefits to the same-sex partners of U.S. diplomats working abroad, including diplomatic passports, relocation assistance, use of embassy medical facilities, and inclusion in emergency evacuations from posts abroad.

June 17, 2009: President Obama signs a memo extending fringe benefits to the same-sex partners of gay federal employees and announces his support for legislation that would extend all benefits to them. The legislation has yet to pass.

Aug. 3, 2009: The U.S. Census Bureau announces it plans to count same-sex marriages as part of the 2020 Census and will also provide partial data from the 2010 Census.

March 17, 2010: The Department of Housing and Urban Development announces it plans to probe allegations of housing discrimination against same-sex couples. In January, it announced a series of proposed rule changes meant to accommodate gay and lesbian home buyers.

June 3, 2010: As part of his previous push to extend more benefits to the same-sex partners of federal employees, Obama signs a memo offering a wider range of them, including access to medical treatment, relocation assistance, credit unions and fitness centers.

Dec. 22, 2010: Obama signs legislation authorizing the end of the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy that bans gays and lesbians from openly serving in uniform. The Pentagon later announces plans to quickly train commanders, chaplains and the rank and file in order to end the ban this year.

Jan. 7, 2011: The State Department decides to make passport applications for children more gender neutral by adding "Parent 1" and "Parent 2" next to any reference of "Mother" and "Father."

Gay rights advocates are also pushing the Federal Emergency Management Agency to ensure appropriate protections to gay and lesbian people and their children during disaster relief efforts, and are calling on the Transportation Security Administration to draft nondiscriminatory policies addressing the treatment of transgender air passengers.

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below or via Twitter:

By Ed O'Keefe  | February 23, 2011; 12:33 PM ET
Categories:  Administration  
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Why did this take so long?

Posted by: getjiggly1 | February 23, 2011 1:32 PM | Report abuse

WELL IT'S ABOUT TIME! The Obama Administration obvious dropped its defense of DOMA, because from a Constitutional standpoint there is no defense! DOMA sets up differing legal standards for Gay and Straight couples. Because of DOMA, even Gay couples who are legally married in Iowa or Massachusetts are unrecognized by the federal government for the purposes of tax law and Social Security; obvious this violates the 14th Amendment. Also, such couples become "UN-married" if they move across state lines, so DOMA violates the "Full Faith & Credit" clause. Thank goodness DOMA's days are finally numbered!

Posted by: PolishBear1 | February 23, 2011 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Two years into the Obama administration. Why was this not done on Day One? Are there so many surplus government attorneys that they had nothing better to do for two years?

Posted by: getjiggly1 | February 23, 2011 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Well there was a massive recession and financial crisis.
Not defending the Obama administration, but there were a number of fairly 'big' issues on the table when he took office.

Posted by: rpixley220 | February 23, 2011 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Which problem were the DOJ Civil Rights attorneys addressing, the recession or the financial crisis?

Posted by: getjiggly1 | February 23, 2011 2:34 PM | Report abuse

....or wasting their time defending DOMA against the wishes of their leader?

Posted by: getjiggly1 | February 23, 2011 2:36 PM | Report abuse

I'm surprised it even happened during his first term. I didn't think anything like this might happen until he was into a second term.

This is certainly going to stir up the conservatives against him and could hurt his reelection chances.

Posted by: BootmanDC | February 23, 2011 2:41 PM | Report abuse

This is a good day. Rather than complaining about taking 2 years to do the right thing, we should be happy that progress is happening.

Posted by: Brendan5 | February 23, 2011 2:49 PM | Report abuse

Timing matters. If this took two years, what is going to take four years? Or six? Or eight? How many promises will we have to wait decades for while the people who should fulfill them are being paid to do the exact opposite?

Posted by: getjiggly1 | February 23, 2011 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Obama is making a cheap concession to Progressives in prepartion for his budget capitulations to Boehner.

Posted by: AxelDC | February 23, 2011 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Love who you want but y'all know stemming the rose ain't right and you'll have to answer for dat sheeet!

Posted by: mjandrews8 | February 23, 2011 3:40 PM | Report abuse

The Sanctity of Marriage and the Family has whittled down to its degraded state. America who should have been the protector of the family and marriage between a man and a woman has instead given in to the vocal Immoral Minority. God is not happy with America and is finally starting to pour out His wrath. The only reason why the vocal Immoral Minority got their way is that Christianity has no spokesperson or group to lead America back on a moral footing. When the Gay Marriage Issue reaches the Supreme Court 2012 - 2013 and they rule in favor of Gay Marriage then God will punish America for it’s immoral choice. Economic Collapse and Civil Unrest will follow. Wake up America !!

Posted by: roberth2 | February 23, 2011 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Smart move, considering that DOMA is, well, indefensible.

Posted by: carlaclaws | February 23, 2011 3:51 PM | Report abuse

...and no, getjiggly1, you're not the only one wondering why this simple directive was so ridiculously long overdue.

Posted by: carlaclaws | February 23, 2011 3:53 PM | Report abuse

happy homos. is this a great country or what?

Posted by: pofinpa | February 23, 2011 4:42 PM | Report abuse

I do not like these sentences or the half dead Andy Rooney who burp them out: 1.Why didn't we do this on Day 1? 2.Why did it take so long? 3. Why am I just hearing about this now?

Posted by: EEWorthingtonfarmDonkeystonIII | February 23, 2011 6:18 PM | Report abuse


You're joking, right? "The only reason why the vocal Immoral Minority got their way is that Christianity has no spokesperson???"

What planet are you living on?

The Fundamentalist Christian right is cramming your so-called religion down our throats at every step. Just turn on the clowns on WAVA 105.1 FM.

Why down you drag your Neanderthal knuckles back into your cave where you can enjoy your Constitutionally-protect right to believe in a delusion. You chose to believe in a myth.

10% of us (who didn't chose to be gay) simply want the same benefits you already have.

Posted by: kjclark1963 | February 23, 2011 6:28 PM | Report abuse

First of all O'Keefe, they're not " GAY " there is nothing gay about Perversion, and what these Homosexuals do for Sexual Gratification is Perverse, plain and simple. Animals do what they do and people with taste turn away at the Zoo when they do what comes naturally . Secondly, if I were on my way to Hell for a Livestyle which Christ condemned I wouldn't call it a Victory . Unless you are a member of Satan's Army .

Posted by: puck-101 | February 23, 2011 6:50 PM | Report abuse


You know why male homosexuals use the term 'gay' in describing themselves?

Because until the 1950s and 1960s, the term 'gay' was used as a pejorative by the bigots. We GAYS decided to turn the tables on the BIGOTs, and started to use the term 'gay' as a positive term.

Don't like us using the term GAY to describe ourselves? Talk to your father or grandfather.

Posted by: critter69 | February 23, 2011 7:17 PM | Report abuse

So my rights are being trampled, & you are waving this in my face? kjclark1963, we aren't cramming anything down your throats, you're cramming it down ours. You have a choice to turn off the radio. We are watching helplessly as our rights are taken away. I would like to point out one thing, biologically, it takes one man and one woman to create a child. I know of no instance where two men or two women were successful in creating life. Do you?

Posted by: Bren21157 | February 23, 2011 9:49 PM | Report abuse

I am so proud of our country for standing up for the minority. I believe that it was James Madison (the first "republican") who feared that our democratic republic could turn into a tyranny of the majority. What has happened time after time is just that: the majority has always suppressed the minority, and that is not the American freedom that this country was founded upon. It happened with slavery when the constitution was written, it happened with the right to vote, and it is happening now to the GLBT community. I am excited to be living in a time where this legislation may gain headway, and I hope to see many of my GLBT friends and family recognized and appreciated as any other member of American society. This is what progress looks like, and perhaps we can finally move forward with GLBT legislation, extending all the rights and privileges of an American citizen to the GLBT community.

Posted by: iamasocialist | February 23, 2011 10:52 PM | Report abuse

I find it a bit alarming that we have so many abnormally developed people. If it has always been a big part of humanity, I have to ask how did we get so many newborns to populate the Earth to the point we have. Or is this just a common American alteration in sexual development or is this a public "you must pay to license our choices" ordeal to show muscle over history. I strongly suspect the latter and realize the problems America has is no small matter. At a time when we need to cut back so people have jobs, you have to add staff to provide legally papers to assert choice of bed fellows.
Its sad to keep your face in others when it means we all loose and you don't see your self as creating the problems. I am sorry you can't love past your small own. I say this with deep sorrow for all the children in the USA who counted on adults to see the big picture for the next generations. I'm very glad my ancestors cared about me. I grew up impoverished but owned my own paid off home justly and legally before I was 30 years old, simply because of the good sense of American common sense. The option to sacrifice to make it was there. You cheat the American public futures. And I truly resent you not for your bed partners, but for your theft of public funds and public decency.

Posted by: momvera | February 23, 2011 11:37 PM | Report abuse

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Posted by: zhenge755 | February 24, 2011 1:44 AM | Report abuse

liar in chief and gang now have the homo vote locked with the help of aclu,next are making the illegals citizens,then what?perhaps importing more muslims. however these maniacs are not tolerant of the infidel and homos will be returning to the closet

Posted by: pofinpa | February 24, 2011 5:37 AM | Report abuse

Refusal to enforce this law adds to the lawlessness of this administration. Once again, Obama is violating his oath of office.

Add this to Obama's refusal to stop implementing the unconstitutional (by court ruling) "Affordable" Healthcare Act, also know as Obamacare and Obama Death Panel Care.

Grounds for impeachment continue to grow. Keep it up Obama, and you and Kadaffi will be roommates.

Posted by: ecartr5 | February 24, 2011 7:09 AM | Report abuse

Same sex marriage is not a joke, its a perversion.

Posted by: US-conscience | February 24, 2011 8:25 AM | Report abuse

Holder said that the DOJ review took into account the obviously prejudiced statements made during the Congressional debate on DOMA. The Congressional Record was available two years ago just as readily as it is now, and a small task force could have accomplished this review soon after Obama took office. Claiming that we were in crisis doesn't wash--the entire government did not shut down to deal with the financial meltdown, it's bogus to think that every single White House official and every single DOJ employee was too busy to multitask.

Posted by: LevRaphael | February 24, 2011 8:37 AM | Report abuse

Same sex marriage is not a joke, its a perversion.

Posted by: US-conscience


That's your opinion. Heterosexual perverts are allowed to get married.

Perhaps you should start a campaign to have states add the following to marriage license applications ...


Are you, or have you even been a pervert?

If yes, please explain in detail which acts of perversion you committed.

Include dates of when each perversion was last committed.

Any omissions later discovered shall invalidate this marriage.

Then to the marriage vows the state could require .....

Does anyone hear know of any perversions committed by these persons, together or separately, that would invalidate this marriage? Please step forward or report it to where the marriage license was issued.

And then .... how cool is this ... we could listen to state legislatures debate what is a perversion or not a perversion. In Texas and Alabama it's illegal to purchase a vibrator [you know what kind]. Obviously that's a perversion or it wouldn't be illegal.

Posted by: James10 | February 24, 2011 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Sorry about the typos. I was giggling over perverts being barred from getting married. I wonder how many "perverts' in Texas and Alabama would be barred from getting married.

I wonder if Alabama and Texas would differentiate between being the "giving" of the vibrator and the recipient? It might be argued that the giver is not a pervert but the recipient is.

Perhaps US-conscience would elaborate on which acts in his mind, in addition to gay marriage constitute "perversion". TIA

Posted by: James10 | February 24, 2011 9:27 AM | Report abuse

I will tell you what, the country should give the public gay rights and for that we can take away the rights of the unions. It is only fair---but no, the lib/demo want it all. And if they don't get it, they either get a bunch of college kids and bus in other people to show their wants or they take it to the courts and get it changed. It is very sad to see this happen a great country like ours.

Posted by: dy19spider57 | February 24, 2011 10:19 AM | Report abuse

I find it abhorrent that the federal government is involved in marriage at all, but, if it decides to poke its nose where it does not belong it should at least provide equal protection for all.

Posted by: mycroftt | February 24, 2011 3:38 PM | Report abuse

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