Religious Right Reactions to DOJ’s DOMA Decision

Earlier today it was reported that President Obama had ordered the Justice Department to stop defending the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act.

So far, reactions from the Religious Right have been few and far between but we are going to post them here as they trickle in:

National Organization for Marriage:

“We have not yet begun to fight for marriage,” said Brian Brown, president of NOM.

“The Democrats are responding to their election loss with a series of extraordinary, extra-constitutional end runs around democracy, whether it’s fleeing the state in Wisconsin and Indiana to prevent a vote, or unilaterally declaring homosexuals a protected class under our Constitution, as President Obama just did,” said Brown. “We call on the House to intervene to protect DOMA, and to tell the Obama administration they have to respect the limits on their power. This fight is not over, it has only begun!”

“On the one hand this is a truly shocking extra-constitutional power grab in declaring gay people are a protected class, and it’s also a defection of duty on the part of the President Obama,” said Maggie Gallagher, Chairman of NOM, “On the other hand, the Obama administration was throwing this case in court anyway. The good news is this now clears the way for the House to intervene and to get lawyers in the court room who actually want to defend the law, and not please their powerful political special interests.”


“It’s a dereliction of duty,” said Tom McClusky, senior vice president of Family Research Council Action. “Whether they agree with the law or not is irrelevant…The Obama administration has purposely dropped the ball here.”


“I think it’s a clear sign that we simply cannot avoid engaging on the social issues,” Bryan Fischer, director of issue analysis for the group, told TPM. “Mitch Daniels has called for a truce on social issues and that would be fine if the homosexual lobby was willing to lay down arms, but they’re obviously not and this proves it. A truce is nothing more than a surrender.”

Fischer said he was not surprised by the president’s decision.

“Frankly I was surprised that President Obama pretended to be a defender of natural marriage as long as he did,” he said.

He said that the White House move should serve as “a wake-up call to all conservatives that fundamental American values regarding the family are under all-out assault by this administration. It ought to represent a clarion call to man the barricades before we lose what is left of the Judeo-Christian system of values in our public life.”

Focus on the Family:

Tom Minnery, a vice president with Focus on the Family, said the Obama administration did not aggressively defend the Defense of Marriage Act in any case. “If the federal government will not defend federal laws, we’re facing legal chaos,” Minnery said. “If the administration can pick and choose what laws it defends, which law is next?”

“We would hope Congress uses the tools at its disposal to counter this decision and defend marriage,” Minnery said.


“Typically, when a law is challenged, the government has a duty to defend the law, and typically they do so with the most vigorous possible defense,” said Jim Campbell, attorney with the conservative Alliance Defense Fund. “In this case, we’ve seen executive branch officials refuse to do so.”

Official FRC statement:

“This decision by President Obama and the Department of Justice is appalling. The President’s failure to defend DOMA is also a failure to fulfill his oath to ‘faithfully execute the office of President of the United States.’ What will be the next law that he will choose not to enforce or uphold?

“Marriage as a male-female union has been easily defended in court and overwhelmingly supported by the American people. There is absolutely no excuse beyond pandering to his liberal political base for President Obama’s decision to abandon his constitutional role to defend a federal law enacted overwhelmingly by Congress.

“With this decision the President has thrown down the gauntlet, challenging Congress. It is incumbent upon the Republican leadership to respond by intervening to defend DOMA, or they will become complicit in the President’s neglect of duty,” concluded Perkins.

Liberty Counsel:

Today President Barack Obama instructed the U.S. Attorney General, Eric Holder, and the Department of Justice to cease defending the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). “This is outrageous and unthinkable that the President would abandon the defense of marriage,” said Mathew Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. “President Obama has betrayed the American people by his refusal to defend the federal law that affirms what many courts upheld as constitutional, namely, that marriage is between one man and one woman,” said Staver.

“Regardless of President Obama’s own ideological agenda, as President, he and his Attorney General have a duty to defend lawfully passed legislation, especially when the essence of the law has been upheld by many courts. Thirty states have passed marriage amendments affirming marriage as one man and one woman. Today President Obama has abandoned his role as President of the United States and transformed his office into the President of the Divided States. He has been the most divisive president in American history. He has today declared war on the American people and the fundamental values that are shared by most Americans. His radicalism resulted in the historical push-back in the 2010 elections. His radicalism today will come back around when the people respond to this betrayal in 2012,” said Staver.


“The Obama Administration has been sabotaging marriage in direct contradiction to his campaign promises. Today, President Obama takes his most unprecedented step yet, choosing to rule and reign through executive decree in what could only be called a supra-constitutional act. After massive defeats at the polls in November, a total repudiation on health care, and staring down a cost-cutting Congress, Obama is looking to secure what little base remains. Obama’s actions today are an unprecedented grab for power and perhaps the most audacious in the 235 year history of the American republic.

“President Obama believes he has “concluded” that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional, as passed along by Attorney General Eric Holder — effectively asserting that Obama may rule by whim and decree.

“We are a nation of laws, not whims.

“Virtually every state in the country has overwhelmingly passed laws and state constitutional amendments protecting marriage. This unprecedented power grab demands the immediate reaction of the United States House of Representatives, who must do everything possible to fight back against what can only be described as a despotic and alarming attack on the rule of law.”

Catholic League:

Now Obama is officially on record as president opposing the defense of marriage. Thus does he pit himself against the 1996 law that was signed by President Bill Clinton, and opposed by only 15 percent in the House and 14 percent in the Senate. He also stands in opposition to the over 30 state initiatives affirming marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

Now that Obama is totally out of the closet, it will spur a genuine effort to adopt a constitutional amendment affirming the integrity of marriage.

Gary Bauer:

The president is the chief law enforcement officer, not the chief justice! It is not up to Barack Obama to determine which laws he likes and which laws he doesn’t. It is his responsibility to enforce the law until the nation’s highest court decides the law does not pass constitutional analysis.

But this president sees things very differently — he’s here to fundamentally transform America, by, among other things, redefining marriage …

Today’s news should put to rest any suggestion that Obama has moved to the center. He has just aligned himself with the most radical elements in the culture war who are trying to redefine normalcy.

I’ll have more on this tomorrow, but I have to be honest with you: I’m worried our side has gone back to sleep. Financial support for our work has dropped significantly. But the left is energized. Obama suddenly feels free to abandon the law and let the militant homosexual rights movement force same-sex “marriage” on every state in the nation. A liberal politician is urging the unions to “get a little bloody” in the streets.

The Tea Party protests have ebbed while the left-wing radicals are fired up. The momentum seems to have shifted back to the left. Men and women of faith must remain engaged in the public policy battles of the day. The culture war is real and only one side can prevail.