The Defense of Marriage Act, which bans same-sex marriage in California, is scheduled to storm the Supreme Court in one month. Several news outlets are reporting that the Obama administration is mulling a possible submission to the court in opposition to the bill. Hollingsworth v. Perry will be argued before the highest court in the land on March 26, so the White House has until Feb. 28 to submit a “friend-of-the-court” brief.
President Obama has affirmed his support of same-sex couples throughout the end of his first term and the beginning of his second. He made history when used the word “gay” for the first time ever in an Inaugural Address and has continued rallying for the rights of gay, lesbian and transgender couples in stump speeches. Submitting a brief aligns with President Obama’s second term agenda and will reflect the consensus of 48 percent of the nation’s population; this is the percentage of Americans in favor of gay marriage according to the Pew Research Center.
Though President Obama’s public support of same-sex couples is admirable, will he submit briefs for all legal onslaughts against civil rights? The White House has remained mum on other challenges to laws, bills and initiatives that challenge white privilege in social institutions. The Supreme Court is will hear arguments in Fisher v. University of Texas, which can demolish the foundation of affirmative action, and Shelby County v. Holder, which aims to remove some key components of the Voting Rights Act.
We recognize that President Obama is the leader of the whole United States and not just minority populations. But if he submits a brief to one case concerning civil rights, he should mirror this action in those with as much potential impact as Fisher v. University of Texas and Shelby County v. Holder.
Zettler Clay eloquently states his piece “Blacks’ Voting Rights Face Big Test,” “In the realm of politics, vicious vestiges of our past still confront us. If Jim Crow took a blow in the executive branch, his grip in the judicial and legislative branches still holds firm.” So like President Johnson in 1965, President Obama must see the danger and address it.
Do you think President Obama will speak out for affirmative action and the Voting Rights Act?