Folks who read the DOMA brief the Obama administration filed in California this morning—the one that compared gay marriage to incest and child rape and rehearsed numerous anti-gay arguments favored by the religious right—said that it read like it was written by the Bush administration. It went way beyond the half-hearted perforce defense of DOMA that folks were braced for. It was breathtakingly bigoted, like something written by a graduate of Jerry Falwell's madrassa, Liberty University. Well guess what? It was written by the Bush administration.
W Scott Simpson, a Bush administration holdover, [filed the DOMA brief]. You can read a previous decision of his here (PDF) from 2008. So it becomes clearer. The harsh rhetoric, the gratuitous attacks on our relationships ... they were written by someone who was given an award by Alberto Gonzales for his defense of the Partial Birth Abortion Act.
And guess what else? He's a Mormon.
Do you think the Obama administration is letting Bush holdovers work on healthcare reform? Do you think they're letting Bush holdovers work on Iraq policy? Do you think they're letting Bush holdovers work on economic policy? Do you think they're letting Bush holdovers manage Sotomayor's confirmation process? Of course not. Because all of those things matter to the Obama administration. They give a shit about healthcare and Iraq and the economy and the Supreme Court nominee. They don't give a shit about gay rights—they don't give a shit about gay soldiers being hounded out of the military or gay spouses being turned away from their partners' sickbeds or binational gay couples facing deportation or the HIV travel ban or gay parents or anything else that touches our lives. Or as the always-cooler-headed-than-me Andrew Sullivan put it...
I suspect that this was a function not of malevolence but of negligence. The truth is: this administration is not hostile to gay equality; it just doesn't give a damn about it.