In a sharply critical letter to the President, Catholic Archbishop of New York Timothy Dolan said that “recent actions” taken by the Administration “escalate the threat to marriage,” and urged Obama to discriminate against gay and lesbian Americans by supporting the “Defense Of Marriage Act.”
Dolan, citing a less than objective study by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), threatened a “national conflict between Church and State of enormous proportions” if the President does not abandon his “campaign” against the “Defense of Marriage Act.”
Mr. President, I respectfully urge you to push the reset button on your Administration’s approach to DOMA. Our federal government should not be presuming ill intent or moral blindness on the part of the overwhelming majority of its citizens, millions of whom have gone to the polls to directly support DOMAs in their states and have thereby endorsed marriage as the union of man and woman. Nor should a policy disagreement over the meaning of marriage be treated by federal officials as a federal offense — but this will happen if the Justice Department’s latest constitutional theory prevails in court. The Administration’s failure to change course on this matter will, as the attached analysis indicates, precipitate a national conflict between Church and State of enormous proportions and to the detriment of both institutions.
Thus, on behalf of my brother Bishops, I urge yet again that your Administration end its campaign against DOMA, the institution of marriage it protects, and religious freedom.
DOMA, enacted in 1996, prevents any of the over 1,100 federal rights, benefits and responsibilities of marriage from being afforded to legally married same-sex couples.
Last year, in U.S. District Court in Boston, Judge Joseph L. Tauro ruled that Section 3 of DOMA violated the equal protection of the laws guaranteed by the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
In February, the Obama administration announced that the Justice Department would no longer defend the law in court, and on July 19, the White House announced the President’s endorsement of the Respect for Marriage Act — the bill that would repeal DOMA.
White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters that the president “is proud” to support the Respect for Marriage Act, “which would take the Defense of Marriage Act off the books for once and for all.”