March 13th, 2009
05:59 PM ET

Eminent DOMAin?

Program Note: Tune in tonight to hear more from Tony Perkins on AC360° at 10pm Eastern.

Tony Perkins
Family Research Council

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/US/03/03/same.sex.lawsuit/art.same.gi.jpg]

In 2004, a younger Barack Obama sat down with a reporter from the Windy City Times and made no secret of his disgust over laws that protect traditional marriage. "When Members of Congress passed the Defense of Marriage Act, they were not interested in strengthening family values or protecting civil liberties. They were only interested in perpetuating division... Despite my own feelings about an abhorrent law, the realities of modern politics persist."

If the latest reports are any indication, those "realities" are about to face their biggest test yet. Two federal appeals court judges in California have launched a fierce strike on DOMA, ordering the federal government in two separate cases to disregard its own law and provide health benefits for the same-sex partners of federal employees. The rulings, which smack of judicial activism, are a direct challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act which defines the word "spouse" as a person of the opposite sex. Initially, Uncle Sam's HR department–the federal Office of Personnel Management (OPM)–fired back, directing insurers not to comply with the court orders because they violate federal law. Now, the decision to act may have fallen in President Obama's lap, leaving him to choose between ignoring the court and implementing his extreme social policy.


Filed under: Gay & Lesbian Issues • Tony Perkins
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. Louise

    After Canada had legalized gay marriage, we visited some relatives in Quebec. My teenage daughters asked my husband's cousin what she thought about it. She seemed quite surprised and even puzzled at the question. She said she felt everyone had a right to be married, that we were all just people and it was not something she or anyone, regardless of religion, had a right to deny another person. She could not understand why it was such a divisive issue for Americans and was amused at the idea that if two gay persons were allowed to marry this could somehow impact the integrity and strength of her own or others' marriages.

    She had taken an issue that my daughters assumed (from the news and people around them) was inherently very highly emotionally, morally and politically charged and diffused it to one of simple common sense and love of their fellow person. I was glad my daughters heard this message and – truth be known – I needed to hear it as much as they.

    March 15, 2009 at 1:39 pm |
  2. ronvan

    Rights, Rights, Rights!!! For me this is going to be the downfall of this country. Why is it that we have to get in everyones business? I have worked with, been friends with, and have neighbors who are gay & lesbian. Except for their sexual preference they are good, normal people, just like the rest of us! How many wasted dollars have been spent on this subject that could have gone for others who are in trouble?

    March 15, 2009 at 9:57 am |
  3. Michael

    Our government must once and for all resolve this matter as a legal issue. Either same sex couples will be equal under the law and therefore eligible for the same benefits as "traditional" couples, or they won't. I am heterosexual and I feel that the discrimination and hypocrisy must end. The moral "minority" must cease their attempts to force their values down the rest of our throats!

    March 15, 2009 at 1:11 am |
  4. Kim

    Human activity vs law,order and traditional majority of existance ? Love defined as law vs Constitution as the abstract of God defines.

    March 15, 2009 at 12:51 am |
  5. Brent

    The fact that there are individuals such as Mr. Perkins making statements like this further perpetuates the idea that the federal government, MY government, does not approve of me and does not support me. I hope that those that are held with representing my ideals realize that they are single-handedly stealing my civil rights away...they may as well walk up to me in public and slap me in the face. Actions such as these I take as a personal attack on my life.

    March 14, 2009 at 1:17 pm |
  6. Tina/Crystal Springs, MS

    it is a sad world when we worry about someone else's marriage. The government has to much rule over us. It's getting rediculus.

    March 14, 2009 at 11:28 am |
  7. Clark

    Well let us choose then:

    should we be discerning of right and wrong?

    or should we allow anybody do as they please?

    what will we use as our standards?

    will the majority thought be used to determine what is acceptable? if so then Hitler, Stalin, Idi Amin, etc .... should be judged to have only been doing the correct thing ... since the majority in those countries agreed with them.

    March 13, 2009 at 9:49 pm |
  8. Larry

    I always thought that the purpose of marriage was reproduction, thus the consummation of a marriage.

    I guess that its only about money.

    March 13, 2009 at 9:25 pm |
  9. Helen

    Could America just decide to join the rest of the thinking world in 2009 and stop acting like they are the last bastion of the Christian right? For heavens sake, the $680 million is peanuts. Madoff made off with lots more. Maybe he could pay for it?
    Respect people's decisions to live their lives the way they want. It isn't anarchy. It could be to the benefit of family, and offers health care to more people, and that's a good thing.

    March 13, 2009 at 8:46 pm |
  10. jamie rishaw

    I worked for Playboy for a time, which, among all things, provided domestic-partner benefits. The downfall of how things are now, still stands with how benefits are treated : As income. At least, this was the case at the time in Illinois. If someone's partner is paid benefits, from anything from a doctor visit to a broken arm [anything, really], then for tax purposes, that was "income".
    True equality will exist when there is no discernible line between the two. Gay or not, domestic partners are domestic partners; families are families. That's the gap that needs to be bridged, and it has to start somewhere. What these judges are doing is no less important than the Stonewall riots, and they should be commended and supported for doing what is just and right.

    March 13, 2009 at 8:26 pm |
  11. Stacy

    I agree with Annie Kate and applaud Obama's "agenda" of equal treatment under the law. I'm not sure how someone who calls themselves Christian can support denying health benefits.

    March 13, 2009 at 8:17 pm |
  12. Hamza Y.

    To be clear, honest, and to the point, i must say that homosexuals are people just like the rest of us and their quality of life shouldn't be limited by businesses and especially not by the government.

    March 13, 2009 at 8:06 pm |
  13. Mike

    Providing health benefits to married couples and domestic partnerships makes a great deal of sense. It leads to a healthier population and greater social stability. As CNN has covered elsewhere, the US trails other developed countries in the effectiveness of our health system: we have a higher percentage of uninsured, health care costs more, and our population as a whole is less healthy.

    Declining to cover couples who are legally married or in a civil union in their state of residence does nothing to strengthen "traditional" marriage. It does make it more likely, though, that more people will not have health care coverage and therefore we more vulnerable to serious and expensive illnesses.

    March 13, 2009 at 7:40 pm |
  14. Gregg Leinicke

    I have been on my partners Insurance for several years now. BUT, when he lost his job and then had to go onto cobra insurance, I was NO longer able to have health Insurance. So there are flaws in the system all over the place. With a laps in coverage, now no pre existing conditions will be covered by any plan for a min. of 1 year. So the system caught us off guard due to fact when you have insurance and leave a job, you go on cobra but leave your partner behind without any.

    March 13, 2009 at 7:30 pm |
  15. Chris Sosa - Boston, MA

    Anderson, I can't tell you how much I hope you don't go easy on Mr. Perkins of the woefully misnamed "Family Research Council." I have little tolerance for those who make a living out of restricting the civil rights of others, especially in the name of morality.

    In fact, I'm a bit disappointed that AC360.com chose to feature this article. I understand the need for balance, but that doesn't require time to be given to extremists. If this were a white supremacist or anti-Semite, I have a feeling the article would not be featured.

    March 13, 2009 at 6:58 pm |
  16. Barbara in Boston

    As far as I'm concerned, the Defense of Marriage Act is a violation of the Constitution, implementing a religious belief as civic law. I hope DOMA is overturned.

    I am a heterosexual woman and have no objection to same-sex marriage. In fact, I am a supporter of it. We, here in Massachusetts, have lived quite nicely with same-sex marriage for several years.

    March 13, 2009 at 6:58 pm |
  17. Bob VanB

    Tony Perkins?! Why not have the right Reverend Phelps on while you're at it.

    March 13, 2009 at 6:51 pm |
  18. Annie Kate

    The last two companies I worked for provided "spousal" benefits for any employee's significant other as long as the premium was paid (same as for a spouse). It didn't hurt those of us in traditional relationships and probably helped keep the premium cost down. I fail to see how enlarging the scope of federal benefits in a like manner is going to hurt anyone either. Everyone needs health insurance; this is one way that a group of people can get it. I'd like to see more companies extend the benefits to a employee's siginficant other and honor the diversity that exists in people and families.

    March 13, 2009 at 6:50 pm |