LGBT Groups to Suthers: Are You Lying, or Just Stupid?

In today’s Denver newspaper, reporter Jessica Fender takes a too-brief look at the decision by Colorado Attorney General John Suthers late last week to join a lawsuit in support of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. Last July, a federal judge in Massachusetts ruled against DOMA, saying that it interfered with the rights of states to determine their marriage laws themselves–an argument that rests in part on the Tenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. You might recall that Suthers’ Democratic opponent Stan Garnett harshly criticized Suthers’ then-silence on this ruling, commenting that Suthers “appears to support states’ rights on a selectively partisan basis, and only on issues that are in line with his own political ideology.”

Well, as was reported today, Suthers has actually joined the federal side in this lawsuit seeking to uphold the Defense of Marriage Act, an obligative responsibility of the Obama administration–signing Colorado on in partnership with the Attorneys General of Indiana, Utah, South Carolina, and Michigan. Their argument boils down to this: “different Tenth Amendment tests apply.” At the very least, this move validates criticism that Suthers is selective and partisan with his view of “states rights.” Here’s an interesting story from the Washington Independent from last summer about the strange bedfellows (no pun intended) created by this ruling, and constitutional interpretations that might surprise you and the “Tea Party.”

Back to the matter at hand–why is Suthers really signing Colorado on to this case?

According to our knowledgeable source, Suthers’ claim to the Denver newspaper that he joined this lawsuit to defend “a Colorado constitutional provision” is false. As it’s explained to us, there are several sections of DOMA in question, and the lawsuit in Massachusetts pertains to federal benefits for same-sex couples that are already recognized by the state in question–not the section that pertains to the authority of states to accept or reject marriages from other states.

If that’s right, by supporting this suit, Colorado’s Attorney General is indeed weighing in, specifically, in favor of denying federal benefits to legally married same-sex couples in the states: a much less defensible position from a “state’s rights” point of view, and arguably more reflective of Suthers’ personal opposition to gay marriage than anything else. This impression is reinforced by so few attorneys general signing on. What LGBT interests are saying is the reasoning given to Ms. Fender by Suthers’ spokesman is either grossly misinformed or intentionally misleading, and raises pointed questions about Suthers’ real intentions here.

We’re guessing Stan Garnett has a few, too.


11 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. bullshit!bullshit! says:

    It sounds a lot better to say “I’m fighting for state’s rights” than to say “I’m fighting to stop gays from getting benefits.” Especially when that means you’re really fighting AGAINST state’s rights to do it.

    Once again, the blogs explain what the newspapers dumb down. Good post.

  2. Littletonian says:

    would that mean that same-sex marriage could be legalized nationwide via legislation at the federal level?

    That would seem like a much easier task for LGBT rights advocates than attempting to resolve the issue fifty times in fifty wildly different political environments.

  3. ArapaGOPArapaGOP says:

    Suthers is defending the will of Colorado voters, who passed Amendment 43 and rejected civil unions for homosexuals in 2006.

    I promise you that those majorities do not want federal benefits intended for traditional marriage given out to homosexuals.

  4. CaninesCanines says:

    who defended Colorado’s Amendment 2 unsuccessfully before the Supreme Court in the Romer v. Evans case (and who’s not even mentioned by name in the following):

    Romer v. Evans, 517 U.S. 620 (1996), is a United States Supreme Court case dealing with civil rights and state laws. The Court gave its ruling on May 20, 1996 against an amendment to the Colorado state constitution that would have prevented any city, town or county in the state from taking any legislative, executive, or judicial action to recognize gay and lesbian citizens as a Protected class.

  5. Whiskey Lima JulietWhiskey Lima Juliet says:

    So many groups could have voted him out of office based on their own concerns, but no.

    Minority groups hould have voted him out, the cannabis community should have voted him out and the GLBT community should have voted him out. Stan Garnett understood the issues and was willing to make a difference.

    Once again the failure of people to do their civic duty is the the reason this Napoleon is in office.

    When the Nazis came for the communists,

    I remained silent;

    I was not a communist.

    When they locked up the social democrats,

    I remained silent;

    I was not a social democrat.

    When they came for the trade unionists,

    I did not speak out;

    I was not a trade unionist.

    When they came for the Jews,

    I remained silent;

    I wasn’t a Jew.

    When they came for me,

    there was no one left to speak out.

    Perhaps it is time to speak up.  Just a thought…

  6. Arvadonian says:

    type of judgement we can expect from our state’s Executive Officers, I’m glad that they are among the lowest paid in the country.

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