Obama's Got GOP Trapped on Gay Marriage

Court battle is different from cable TV: Linda Hirshman
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Feb 24, 2011 1:13 PM CST
President Barack Obama greets supporters after giving closing remarks after a small business forum at Cleveland State University in Cleveland, Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2011.   (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

(Newser) – The Obama administration's decision not to defend the Defense of Marriage Act may seem politically risky—after all, “a majority of Americans have never polled in favor of same sex marriage,” writes Linda Hirshman for Salon. But, in fact, Obama has put Republicans in a bind: The GOP-led Congress may opt to defend the law in court, but that will be a lot harder than “braying about it on talk radio,” writes Hirshman. The fact is, there’s simply “no empirical evidence to support the exclusion of gays from marriage.”

Yet “Republicans and their lawyers will have to step into federal court and prove—subject to cross-examination—how the republic would be damaged if same sex spouses can get, say, federal railroad retirement benefits.” What’s more, in California’s Proposition 8 court case, gay marriage opponents “didn’t just look dumb” with their circular argument, “they looked mean,” Hirshman writes. “Homophobic campaign ads looked very different when they were played in a building devoted to equal justice than they did when they appeared on niche cable channels.”

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