As others have pointed out, the Obama administration’s legal attack on the Defense of Marriage Act, which partially relies on the move to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” lacks controlling legal precedent or persuasive moral reasoning. That alone is sufficient reason to oppose it. But the President’s use of DADT repeal to attack DOMA is wrong for two other important reasons. When President Obama rammed repeal through the lame-duck Congress, he did so while relying heavily on the existence of DOMA to ward off many of the problematic implications of repeal. Moral concerns about marriage and religious liberty, along with fiscal concerns about benefits and housing, were rejected as irrelevant because DOMA allegedly prevented many of them from materializing. Effectively, Congress was told to accept DADT repeal based on DOMA’s authority, all while the President was just a month away from launching an unprecedented attack on DOMA as soon as he secured DADT repeal.
But the actual situation now is much worse than a regrettable tale of political shenanigans and hypocrisy. The military’s attempt to brace service members for repeal—via painfully inadequate PowerPoint training slides—still relies on DOMA’s existence to answer many controversial problems. Thus, our troops are having a radical change imposed on them during a time of war by a Commander-in-Chief who is training them to rely on a law that his administration is actively trying to subvert. This is wrong. Misleading Congress is one thing. Misleading the men and women in harm’s way who must follow his leadership is a wholly indefensible other thing and should not be tolerated. Congress should demand that the President explain his duplicity to it and stop his mistreatment of our troops.
This post originally appeared here.