Outraged By Obama Legal Brief, Gay Democratic Donors Boycotting DNC Bash

Jun 16, 2009 3:44pm

Last week, President Obama’s Justice Department filed a legal brief against same sex marriage in which it compared gay unions to incestuous ones and that of an underage girl – in the sense that states have the right to not recognize marriages that are legal in other states or countries.

The timing of the brief, which the president of the leading gay and lesbian rights organization said caused his community “pain,” is awkward, given that next Thursday, June 25, the Democratic National Committee is hitting up the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community for cash in a fundraiser featuring Vice President Biden.

As John Aravosis at AmericaBlog reports, gay donors, outraged at the legal brief, are withdrawing their support from the event.

The treasurer of the DNC, Andrew Tobias, finds himself distancing himself from the brief, as Ben Smith of Politico reports.

"If this debacle of a brief represented the president's views, I'd boycott too," Tobias said in an e-mail. But Tobias insisted that he “personally totally believe(s) in the president.”

David Mixner, a former adviser to President Clinton, is not so sold, writing that the brief is a “sickening document” that “could have been written  by the Rev. Pat Robertson. Using the worst of stereotypes, it intimates that we don't have constitutional guarantees, invokes scenarios of incest, of children and advocates that we don't have the same rights as others who have struggled for civil rights.”

Mixner says many scholars don’t think the Obama administration needed to defend the Defense of Marriage Act, which states that states don’t have to accept same sex marriages from other states.  Some disagree. But “to a person, they say that the response is way out of line, totally unnecessary and goes far beyond anything required. They all agree that if the Department of Justice felt they had to respond, a simple, few-paged brief on the very limited issue before the Federal Court would have been all that was necessary.”

The brief, Mixner argues, “undercuts every conceivable argument that the LGBT community would use to fight for the repeal of DOMA. Right-wing nut cases can now just simply quote horrible stuff from this hateful brief and proclaim loudly it was filed by the Obama Justice Department.”

For that reason, Mixner withdrew his support from the DNC fundraiser.

As did big Democratic gay donors Andy Towle and Alan Van Capelle, executive director of the Empire State Pride Agenda and Foundation.

Aravosis is mad, criticizing "this rather ill-timed and inappropriate Democratic effort to milk money from our community at the same time Democrats are equating us with incest and not lifting a finger on any of our legislation priorities in Congress or the White House. It's not awfully clear why any gay person would give a Democrat a dime ever again.”

– jpt

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