As Jan Brewer Expands Her Anti-LGBT Jihad In Arizona, Where Does New Congressman And Putative Democrat Ron Barber Stand?
DC insiders sticking together
The DCCC is behind a candidate for Arizona's new second CD, Ron Barber, who is at odds with the most basic principles and ideals of the Democratic party, uncompromisable values like equality, for example. As we've mentioned before, the very first substantive vote he took on winning the special election last month was to join Boehner and Cantor to gut the most important environmental protection laws ever passed-- like the Clean Water Act and the Clean Air Act. That's a Democrat? A few days later he was pandering to Darrell Issa by supporting his deranged witch hunt against Eric Holder. And the latest bow to right-wing extremism-- his refusal to join fellow Democrats in filing an amicus brief against DOMA.
132 House members, led by Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Steny Hoyer (D-MD), filed an amicus brief today making a federal case against the Defense of Marriage Act’s constitutionality. The brief weighs in on the legal challenge that Karen Golinski made against DOMA when she filed a lawsuit seeking access to equal health benefits for her wife-- a case that has reached the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals after a federal district court ruled in Golinski’s favor and declared DOMA unconstitutional.
The congress members offer a direct challenge to the House Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group’s (BLAG) Republican members, who hired lawyers to defend DOMA’s constitutionality against increasing attacks in court. A release from Pelosi’s office summarizes the brief’s major arguments, including the crucial facts that BLAG does not speak for the entire House of Representatives and that DOMA directly harms American families:
Unlike most Acts of Congress, DOMA cannot be viewed as the rational result of impartial lawmaking and should be treated with judicial skepticism. The brief makes it clear that the House is not united on DOMA’s validity, that the BLAG lawyers do not speak for the entire institution, and that there is no legitimate federal interest in denying married same-sex couples the legal security, rights and responsibilities that federal law provides to couples who are married under state law. …This law affirmatively harms married gay and lesbian couples and their children.
"It looks like Barber's going to be a real problem for us," one top Democratic House staffer told me Friday. "He's not even settled in yet and he's already making it clear that he's basically a Republican. I hope that state Rep. running against him in he primary next month beats him."
That state Rep. running against him in he primary next month is Blue America endorsed Matt Heinz and there's no question Heinz, an openly gay physician, as well as a state Rep., would have signed onto the Amicus brief with the rest of the progressives in Congress. How do I know? I know because Matt stands up and fights-- and fights hard-- for equality for Arizonans being oppressed. And right now he's one of the most vocal members of the legislature opposing Gov. Brewer's latest anti-LGBT crusade:
Gov. Brewer is appealing to the Supreme Court to make sure only legally married couples enjoy state employee benefits. Brewer seeks to deny these benefits to couples in domestic partnerships, regardless of whether they are same or opposite sex couples. Since SB 1070 largely failed, Governor Jan Brewer decided to shift her efforts to legalize bigotry from one population to another.
I firmly believe the role of government is to protect citizens from discrimination-- not subject them to it as Brewer would have. In 1997, former Senator Barry Goldwater said that government does best when it "stays out of the impossible task of legislating morality. But legislating someone's version of morality is exactly what we do by perpetuating discrimination against gays."
Couples in committed domestic partnerships, both heterosexual and gay, deserve the same opportunity to share a fully invested relationship-- this is crucial in realizing the American promise of equality.
It is often overlooked that this Republican policy also prevents opposite-sex domestic partners from participating in state employee benefits, more opposite-sex domestic partners were impacted by Brewer’s attempt to limit the LBGT community’s access to health care.
If the case is considered by U.S. Supreme Court, I am confident that the Court will uphold 9th Circuit Court’s decision finding that this proposed law is discriminatory against same sex couples. I have full faith that the Supreme Court will find this law unconstitutional; and when it does, it will set a legal precedent not only for Arizona, but for all of America.
Ron Barber, meanwhile, is hiding. If you'd like to help Matt get his message out before early voting starts (August 2), now's the time-- and here's the place.
Even conservative Republican Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), who voted to repeal DOMA has broken with the Boehner-Cantoroids and endorsed marriage equality. It's a pretty sad day for Arizona Democrats when they've got a new Rep. who's more bigoted and hate-filled than a Republican! Barber has to be beaten. Heinz taking this clown down next month will be sweet irony!