Discussion
Book Review: The Eye of God by James Rollins

DOMA Ruling: SECDEF Hagel's Unprofessional Pronouncement

As you may have read, the SCOTUS struck down the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act or "DOMA".  This was a law that enjoyed bipartisan support in Congress, and was signed by President Bill Clinton.  

Let's leave aside for a moment your personal feelings about the definition of marriage.

I want to get to an announcement by the Secretary of Defense, Mr Chuck Hagel, and his announcement re: the DOMA ruling:

"The Department of Defense welcomes the Supreme Court's decision today on the Defense of Marriage Act. The Department will immediately begin the process of implementing the Supreme Court's decision in consultation with the Department of Justice and other executive branch agencies. The Department of Defense intends to make the same benefits available to all military spouses -- regardless of sexual orientation -- as soon as possible. That is now the law, and it is the right thing to do...."

Excuse me Mr Sec'y, but that isn't your call to make as to the "right thing to do".  First off, your glee in such an announcement is unprofessional.  It is not the place of any Cabinet official to give such voice in official correspondence.  But more directly, what this tells me about your respect for the rule of law is more appalling. To paraphrase a comment i saw posted, the SECDEF embraces, and is tickled pink, over the ruling. Such unmasked joy crosses the line of supposedly remaining apolitical. He should have simply said, this is the ruling, and here's what we are directed to do by the President as a result of the ruling.(By the way, that instruction sure didn't take long to get out, eh?) 

Cheering SCOTUS's DOMA decision also means that you are cheering an Executive Branch that opted NOT to defend a bipartisan law arrived at through a Constitutional process. It was overturned not because of a violation of the Constitution, but because 5 justices disagree with it.  In so doing, they've usurped (once again) the 9th and 10th Amendments which clearly put such a matter in the hands of the several States.  The Executive Branch abrogated its responsibility to defend this law in court, essentially opting to not act on behalf of the Nation and defend statutorily arrive at law.

This is akin to a defense attorney not only passively hoping that the prosecution wins a conviction for their client, but actively aides in that prosecution.  

Supporters of this ruling should temper their happiness.  Remember this feeling when the Executive Branch opts not to defend a law you agree with but was arrived at via bipartisan consensus and is challenged, not within an accountable legislature, but through unelected judges. Whether or not there is a need for DOMA is a legislative action. In 1996, the Legislative Branch acted, and a previous Administration signed that consensus into law. Using judicial fiat to overturn this on the basis of disagreeing with the policy is tyranny. It is unseemly.  And to have the SecDef not very subtlely support such judicial fiat is a bit scary.

And to double down, SECEF wrapped it in a bow of "patriotism":

Every person who serves our nation in uniform stepped forward with courage and commitment. All that matters is their patriotism, their willingness to serve their country and their qualifications to do so. Today's ruling helps ensure that all men and women who serve this country can be treated fairly and equally, with the full dignity and respect they so richly deserve.

Yeah...right... So does that mean that all of those folks who got "contract marriges" to get out of the barracks will have their UCMJ punishments absolved?  Those folks either lost careers or risked doing so. I'm sure they are/were patriots.  What is the difference now?

Any takers on a bet that the Military will NOT crack down on same-sex "contract marriages" the way it does on heterosexual ones?

The irony in all of this is that you can marry same-sex and be a social justice paragon, but it will probably STILL get you in trouble if you have a "spouse swapping" party.

Hat tip to "Powerpoint Ranger" for the link.  Full text of the SecDef/DOD announcement here:  http://www.defense.gov/News/NewsArticle.aspx?ID=120364

Comments