Posts tagged with Ernest Barteldes
As some readers might remember, last week I wrote a piece questioning why the GOP-led House of Representatives was spending tax dollars to retain private counsel to defend the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in the courts after the White House instructed Attorney General Eric Holder not to to do so.
Except for one paragraph, I pretty much left my personal feelings about the matter out (yes, I pro-same sex marriage) and focused on the absurdity of the fact that so many GOP leaders talk about nothing but how much the government is adding to the deficit while apparently having no problem about shelling out millions of tax dollar to a private firm to go to bat in the courts – an area that the legislative branch has no business getting into.
As I always do when I write about legislative matters, I sent a copy of the article to my Congressman, Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY), who has been a pretty unremarkable voice in the House whose career has been pretty much about being a party-line voter with the record of introducing a single bill during his first term – the renaming of a Staten Island post office after fallen Vietnam war marine sergeant Angel Mendez, a native of the borough.
The replies I get from Congressman Grimm’s office are usually very evasive and highly partisan, but this one takes the prize. Not only did he skirt my entire question on taxes, but he also failed to even give his own position on the matter at hand (the expense). On his introduction, he mentions that “the Defense of Marriage Act or DOMA was passed into law fifteen years ago, and stipulates that no state shall be obligated to recognize any same-sex marriage from any other state as legally valid.” He adds (correctly) that “the law was passed with an overwhelming majority in Congress and with widespread support throughout the 50 states.”
My piece did not question that. I did mention that DOMA was passed in a hurry to get the problem out of the way. But he makes no mention of that. Instead, he states that “President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder recently revealed that the Justice Department would halt legal defense of the act’s third section, which defines marriage in legal terms as only applying to a man and a woman joined together as husband and wife, finding the provision to be unconstitutional.” In the same paragraph, he states that the president’s decision to halt any action against DOMA “is quite troubling.”
He concludes that “as your representative, I hold the oath that I took to uphold the Constitution very seriously. For that reason, I like you am very wary of any efforts to subvert our founding document and the rights of states to make their own decisions regarding marriage.”
I don’t understand why someone who says he or she takes the Constitution so seriously would ignore the fact that eight Federal justices ruled that DOMA is unconstitutional as it goes against the equal protection clause in the 14th Amendment. He also talks about ‘states’ rights,’ but fails to recognize that the basic principle of the law is to deny equal federal rights to same-sex coupl
Mr. Grimm’s response is evidence that most of the GOP in the House (not only those representing the South) are incredibly out of touch with this country’s changing demographics. By sticking to an agenda instead of listening to their constituencies, they are simply becoming more and more isolated in the national scene. The congressman’s inability to answer a simple question is appalling. Is giving a straight answer that hard?