This week President Obama’s administration announced it would no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act. This is the law that effectively bans same sex marriages in the US. Attorney General Eric Holder, in a letter to Congress, wrote that he and Obama “have concluded that classifications based on sexual orientation warrant heightened scrutiny and that, as applied to same-sex couples legally married under state law, Section 3 of (the Defense of Marriage Act) is unconstitutional.”
Holder said the decision is based on “a number of factors, including a documented history of discrimination” against gays, and that “classifications based on sexual orientation should be subject to a more heightened standard of scrutiny.”
The Defense of Marriage Act “fails to meet that standard and is therefore unconstitutional,” Holder said. “Given that conclusion, the president has instructed the Department not to defend the statute in such cases.” Here is that press announcement.
I find that I very much agree with John Boehner, Speaker of the House when he said through a spokesman: “While Americans want Washington to focus on creating jobs and cutting spending, the president will have to explain why he thinks now is the appropriate time to stir up a controversial issue that sharply divides the nation.”
Same sex marriage is a further erosion of the moral foundations and character of a nation already in trouble. And given the critical priorities that our nation faces at this time, this reflects a political leadership that is not committed to unifying our nation but increasing the divide. Calling it a civil rights issue does not honor those like Martin Luther King, Jr and Rosa Parks and others who worked to end racism that was so deeply ingrained in the American culture. It is a specious argument at best to speak of this as a civil right and begs some very blatant rebuttal that I will refrain from as a matter of civility. It is more a campaign to indulge those who want the world to bless a way of life that many understand as immoral. The position of the Administration appears more politically motivated than anything given those who chose to applaud it and those who becried it.
On a lighter note, we are now into the time when teams are building their resumes for the NCAA Basketball Tournament. Several years ago, facing the number of automatic bids for league champions and in the interest of finding the genuinely best team, the NCAA expanded the field of 64 to 66, and this year to 68. In this setting, the leagues that have greater depth and parity will be rewarded as they should be. I am a fan of Big Ten Basketball, and they continue to be one of the premier college basketball leagues. My Ohio State Buckeyes will very likely be one of the top 2-3 overall seeds – with Purdue and Wisconsin close behind. They could pull down as many as 7 invitations out of their 11 teams. But the far and away top league in the 2010-2011 season is the Big East Conference which may qualify as many as 11 of its teams. And as I have watched these teams in action, they clearly would be deserving. Any of them has the potential to reach the Elite Eight, the Final Four or maybe win it all! And if I were to pick a team from the Big East that has a real shot at that Final Four, I’d say it is St. John’s. Coach Steve Lavin has totally turned this program around. With wins over Pittsburgh, Connecticut, Notre Dame, Syracuse and Georgetown, and now Villanova, and eight wins in their last nine games, the Red Storm are one of the hottest teams in the country. They can could finish as high as second in the Big East (which Pittsburgh will win). Watch for some exciting basketball.
A young lady from my church captured this great photo of a Pennsylvania sunset this week and I found it the best photo of the week.