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Transcript: President Obama on DOMA and LGBT Immigrant Families

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The following is an excerpt from the transcript of a Q & A, with President Obama, held earlier today at the White House.  The full transcript is available on the White House website, here.

EXCERPT OF REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT IN AN “OPEN FOR QUESTIONS” ROUNDTABLE

MR. LERNER:  Mr. President, on the Defense of Marriage Act, also called DOMA, this comes from Kevin in North Carolina.  He says:  I’m a gay American who fell in love with a foreigner.  As you know, due to DOMA, I’m not permitted to sponsor my foreign-born partner for residency.  And as a result, we are stuck between a rock and an impossible situation.  How do you intend to fix this?  Waiting for DOMA to be repealed or struck down in the courts will potentially take years.  What do binational couples do in the meantime?

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, we made a decision that was a very significant decision, based on my assessment of the Constitution, that this administration would not defend DOMA in the federal courts.  It’s not going to be years before this issue is settled. This is going to be settled fairly soon, because right now we have cases pending in the federal courts.

Administratively, we can’t ignore the law.  DOMA is still on the books.  What we have said is even as we enforce it, we don’t support it, we think it’s unconstitutional.  The position that my administration has taken I think will have a significant influence on the court as it examines the constitutionality of this law.  And once that law is struck down — and I don’t know what the ruling will be — then addressing these binational issues could flow from that decision, potentially.

I can’t comment on where the case is going to go.  I can only say what I believe, and that is that DOMA doesn’t make sense; it’s unfair; I don’t think that it meets the demands of our Constitution.  And in the meantime, if — I’ve already said that I’m also supportive of Congress repealing DOMA on it’s own and not waiting for the courts.  The likelihood of us being able to get the votes in the House of Representatives for DOMA repeal are very low at this point so, truthfully, the recourse to the courts is probably going to be the best approach.

2 Responses to Transcript: President Obama on DOMA and LGBT Immigrant Families

  1. sjd says:

    I have been living with my partner for 5 years now. Its immensely frustrating that my partner who is an American citizen cannot sponsor me for a permanent residency. We feel helpless and ashamed how we are denied something that only heterosexual couples can enjoy. :-(

  2. Because of the bigotry and homophobia of the US governement which denies me the same rights as heterosexual people, I made the decision to leave my country and live with my partner in Malaysia. It is ironic that the US touts itself as a defender and advocate of human rights and is engaged in two wars fighting Islamic radicals and I had to move to a predominantly Muslim country to be with the one I love. I can’t receive medicare in a foreign country and I still have to pay US taxes, but I am considered a second class citizen with few rights. I spend my social security and pension in Malaysia. This is money that could help the American economy, but since I have a same sex foreign partner the government doesn’t want it. nor me and my partner.

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