Monday, June 15, 2009
The Los Angeles Times
With the Obama administration facing growing discontent among gay supporters, the mayors of Los Angeles and San Francisco joined in voicing concern today about a new U.S. Justice Department brief supporting the federal Defense of Marriage Act.
"I think it's a big mistake," San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom said shortly before he and his Los Angeles counterpart, Antonio Villaraigosa, kicked off the annual L.A. Pride parade in West Hollywood.
The 1996 law bars the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages and enables states to refuse to recognize such marriages from other states. The Justice Department enraged leaders of gay rights groups Thursday by filing a lengthy defense of the law in a federal lawsuit in which its constitutional validity is challenged.
Newsom and Villaraigosa, potential rivals in next year's Democratic primary for governor, were both careful to avoid direct criticism of President Obama, who pledged during his campaign for the White House to repeal the marriage law.
"I'm concerned about some of the arguments being made by the Justice Department," Villaraigosa said.
Gay rights groups were more blunt. Rea Carey, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund, called the administration's defense of the law unacceptable.
"Unfortunately, the malicious and outrageous arguments and language used in the Justice Department's brief [are] only serving to inflame and malign the humanity of same-sex couples and our families," Carey said....(Remainder.)