Yesterday the Department of Homeland Security and the National Organization for Marriage responded to the Supreme Court’s rulings on marriage equality. Spoiler: their responses were very different. (More)
DHS and NOM Respond to Supreme Court on Marriage Equality
The Department of Homeland Security replied with a statement by Secretary Janet Napolitano explaining how DHS would implement the Supreme Court’s decision in U.S. v. Windsor:
After last week’s decision by the Supreme Court holding that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional, President Obama directed federal departments to ensure the decision and its implication for federal benefits for same-sex legally married couples are implemented swiftly and smoothly. To that end, effective immediately, I have directed U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to review immigration visa petitions filed on behalf of a same-sex spouse in the same manner as those filed on behalf of an opposite-sex spouse.
The brief FAQ also notes that DHS will recognize a same-sex marriage in evaluating a family-based immigration visa request, even if the couple now live in a state that does not recognize their marriage. In short, the Obama administration are already moving to implement the Court’s decision.
“Today is a great day for our country”
On the other hand, the National Organization for Marriage are stomping their feet about the decision in Hollingsworth v. Perry. They’re especially upset at California Attorney General Kamala Harris, who explained the Court’s decision on PBS:
Today the United States Supreme Court made a ruling based on the arguments we have been making all along. The proponents of Proposition 8 did not have standing. What does that mean? It means those people who want to deny same sex couples the benefits of equal protection and due process under the United States Constitution cannot do so simply because they don’t like the notion. The United States Supreme Court in essence declared today: they are bystanders. They are sitting in the sidelines. They can have their freedom of expression, but they cannot deny Americans, they cannot deny citizens of this country equal protection and due process under the law. Today is a great day for our country. Today is a day not unlike everything we did when we passed the Civil Rights Act, when we passed laws that say all people are created equal. Today is a day that reaffirms our commitment as a country to giving every person equal protection and due process under the law.
“She pretty much disdains us”
NOM twisted Attorney General Harris’ words to imply she said “the voters of California are bystanders.” Their fundraising letter begins:
Kamala Harris may not yet be a household name across the nation, but she’s the uber-liberal state Attorney General of California. She hails from San Francisco and she doesn’t much care for people who believe that marriage is the union of one man and one woman, as God created it.
In fact, she pretty much disdains us.
Oh dear. A bit of context may help, courtesy of Good as You’s Jeremy Hooper:
But more than just that, the truth is that Harris got the job that NOM’s own chairman, John Eastman, truly wanted—and the job that NOM wanted him to have. Longtime readers might remember back when I reported on a swanky D.C. fundraiser that NOM threw for Eastman when the deeply conservative lawyer was trying to become California’s Attorney General. NOM wanted him as Attorney General because NOM wanted the Prop 8 legal fight to go exactly opposite of how it went. Ultimately, Eastman didn’t even make it out of his primary, which led to his taking the NOM chairmanship as a consolation prize – but NOM sure as heck wanted him there.
Indeed Harris campaigned in 2010 on a promise not to defend Proposition 8, and defeated her Republican opponent by over 100,000 votes. You could argue that Californians voted to repeal Proposition 8 then, or at least not to fund its defense. But as the NOM fundraiser screams in bold-italics:
In the world of Kamala Harris, we are banished to the sidelines, not even fit to participate in civil discourse.
That would indeed be outrageous, had she said that. But she didn’t. Still, why nitpick legal details. NOM’s tantrum is a fundraiser and – with new polls showing record-high support for marriage equality – this may be one NOM’s last chances to milk their followers’ wallets.
After that … the NOM staff will have to find real jobs.