Attorney General Eric Holder sent a letter to congress today to notify them that the Department of Justice will no longer defend the constitutionality of denying military benefits to same-sex couples.
In the letter to congress, Holder asserts that neither the Department of Justice or the Department of Veterans Affairs could provide a rationale for the current policy. Igor Volsky of ThinkProgress elaborates.
Currently, the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act prevents federal agencies from recognizing same-sex relationships and Title 38 of the United States Code defines spouses as a person of the opposite sex. Holder added that Congress would “be provided a ‘full and fair opportunity’ to defend the statues in the McLaughlin v. Panetta case if they wished to do so.”
That lawsuit, filed by the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network in October on behalf of Maj. Shannon McLaughlin of the Massachusetts National Guard, argues that McLaughlin and her partner Casey are denied benefits that similarly situated opposite-sex couples enjoy, including, “medical and dental benefits, basic housing allowances, travel and transportation allowances, family separation benefits, military ID cards, visitation rights in military hospitals, survivor benefit plans, and the right to be buried together in military cemeteries.” Such treatment “violates constitutional equal protection guarantees,” “the Tenth Amendment and constitutional principles of federalism,” it says.
It would seem that the Obama Administration is perfectly okay with addressing sensitive subjects during an election year.
And why wouldn’t they be? It’s working out pretty well so far. Public opinion is on their side, and the longer this continues the more opportunity there is for the GOP to display its inner bigot.
This is also another nail in the coffin of the notion that somehow President Obama is less of a liberal than President Clinton was. Also, just like Bush. No, worse than Bush! Or something.
The only question remaining is — will John Boehner hire a $500 per hour lawyer to defend this too?