Is President Obama fighting against DOMA by fighting for it?

Well, it happened again. The Obama administration dropped more horrible news last Friday afternoon once the news cycle ended for the week. It’s another administration challenge to health care benefits for lesbian and gay partners of federal employees.

The administration has previously vigorously argued in defense of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), saying that the Department of Justice is responsible for upholding current statute even as they announce that they will actively ignore other federal statutes like the medical marijuana prohibition. The Advocate and AMERICAblog have more, but you know the drill.

Before his election, Barack Obama was clearly and convincingly on our side, even when he wasn’t speaking on LGBT issues directly. He had this to say five days before his election:

I mean, the— the right to marry who you please isn’t in the Constitution. But I think all of us assume that if a state— decided to pass a law saying, “Brian, you can’t marry the woman you love,” that you’d think that was unconstitutional. Well, where does that come from? I think it comes from a right to privacy— that may not be listed in the Constitution but is implied by the structure of the Constitution.

How do we reconcile that with what President Obama’s administration has enthusiastically supported during his first year in office? There must be something going on besides mere post-election forgetfulness. I mean, even GWB’s administration defended DOMA less stridently than Obama’s has.

Keeping all of that in mind, and with the knowledge that lasting civil rights progress always begins in the courts, and understanding that some will call me an Obama apologist for it, I ask this question:

Could it be that the Obama administration is so violently pushing DOMA to its furthest extent so the Supreme Court will have no choice but to rule once and for all that DOMA targets gays as a protected class, violates the suspect classification doctrine, and is unconstitutional?

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