WASHINGTON - Black conservatives with the Project 21 leadership network say President Obama's decision that the executive branch will no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act because of its alleged unconstitutionality is unconstitutional in itself -- and point out that it sets a potentially dangerous precedent.
"At no time in the history of this nation has a president so openly shown such unabashed contempt for the Constitution and the rule of law," said Project 21's Jerome Hudson. "President Obama's decision to have the Justice Department ignore the Defense of Marriage Act removes all doubt that he has nothing less than a lack of respect and understanding for the founding principles of our nation. We are a nation of laws and not men."
On February 23, Attorney General Eric Holder released a statement announcing that the Obama Administration "will cease defense of Section 3" of the Defense of Marriage Act because Obama believes sexual orientation deserves "a more heightened standard of scrutiny" and that "[t]he President has concluded that Section 3 of DOMA, as applied to legally married same-sex couples, fails to meet that standard and is therefore unconstitutional." Congress, which passed the law in 2000 by a 342-67 vote in the House of Representatives and 85-14 vote in the Senate, still has the ability to legally defend the law. President Bill Clinton signed DOMA into law.
There are currently three major challenges to DOMA in the federal courts.
Project 21 Chairman Mychal Massie added: "The pure arrogance of this man is incredible. We see a sitting American president functioning as a monarch juxtaposed to an elected representative of the people. Obama privately decided that he didn't like DOMA and -- on the authority of his conscience and opinion alone -- saw fit to disregard legislation that was drafted, passed overwhelmingly and signed into law by a preceding president of his own party."
"If President Obama is concerned about the constitutionality of laws, he should start with his own health care plan which has been determined to be unconstitutional by 26 state attorneys general and ruled unconstitutional by two judges," noted Project 21's Lisa Fritsch. "President Obama -- though he acts as God -- does not have the judicial authority to make his opinion and political agenda lawful. His political agenda supersedes any regard for constitutional law, American values and recognition of true discrimination."
Project 21, a leading voice of black conservatives since 1992, is sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research