In a case of unprecedented bad timing, the Obama administration decided yesterday to appeal Boston district judge Joseph Tauro's ruling that the federal Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional. Judge Tauro made the ruling back in July on the grounds that DOMA violated the Tenth Amendment, which protects states' rights and grants equal protection. The lawsuit was filed both by the state of Massachusetts and by gay couples seeking health-care coverage for their spouses. The Department of Justice's appeal came the same day that Judge Virginia Philips ordered the military to stop enforcing "don't ask, don't tell," also on the grounds that it was unconstitutional. Based on President Obama's pattern of cognitive dissonance on gay rights, experts predicted a Justice Department appeal on the DADT injunction. The appeal of Judge Tauro's ruling on DOMA seems to prove them right, and just in time for midterms.
Justice Department spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler tries to distinguish between the president and his legal right arm:
"As a policy matter, the President has made clear that he believes DOMA is discriminatory and should be repealed. The Justice Department is defending the statute, as it traditionally does when acts of Congress are challenged."