Thursday, October 14, 2010

Gabriel Arana Calls Obama Administration's Bluff on Justification for Defending DADT

At American Prospect, Gabriel Arana calls the Obama administration's bluff as it continues to try to justify slow-walking repeal of DADT and taking the "long view" on issues of human rights for gay and lesbian human beings:
Members of the administration have admitted that gay-rights issues have taken a back seat, and indeed, it seems reasonable enough to ask the gay community to be patient while Obama fixes the economy and health care. But here's the thing with civil rights: Whether you think there are more pressing things to do depends on whether you take civil rights seriously. Civil rights aren't perks that you deal with once you get all the practical stuff in order; they are the practical stuff -- they allow all Americans to participate fully in tackling collective problems.
The Justice Department's ardent defense of DOMA and "don't ask, don't tell" have only added insult to injury. The administration's standard justification for defending discriminatory laws in court has been that it's Congress' job to repeal laws; the Justice Department is tasked with defending the laws on the books. But as John Aravosis and Joe Sudbay at AmericaBlog have pointed out, that's not quite the case. Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush all declined to enforce federal laws that they found beyond the pale.
Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke truth to power when he wrote, in his Letter from Birmingham Jail, "For years now I have heard the word 'Wait!' It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This 'Wait' has almost always meant 'Never.' We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that 'justice too long delayed is justice denied.'"

It is exceptionally shameful that the first African-American president of this nation should take the cynical tack that President Obama has taken in the area of human rights for gay citizens.

H/t to John Aravosis at Americablog Gay.
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