Saturday, February 26, 2011

Stark Defends President Over DOMA Decision

Rep. Pete Stark addresses constituents Thursday night at the Fremont Senior Center.
By Steven Tavares

Rep. Pete Stark said Thursday night he supports the Department of Justice’s decision this week to not defend the controversial Defense of Marriage (DOMA) Act in court. At a town hall in Fremont, Stark said he may file an amicus brief against any court case involving DOMA in Congress.

President Obama and the Department of Justice surprised many last Wednesday by releasing a six-page memo announcing the government would no longer defend the law limiting marriage between a man and a woman. In effect, the administration believes the law is unconstitutional. Regardless of the merits of the president’s decision, some have wondered why he would jump head-long into a likely ferocious bipartisan social debate in a time of economic uncertainty. Possible 2012 presidential candidate Newt Gingrich and other Republicans have already raised the question of impeachment over the Obama’s intention to not uphold the federal law.

Stark has rarely stepped back from a fight and said he would do his part in defending the president’s decision by filing an amicus brief, or friend of the court petition, in support of repealing DOMA. “I would defend it as a human right,” Stark told a resident. “I don’t the federal government should have anything to do with marriage.”

Stark, who is the only known atheist in Congress, laid out the legal aspects of marriage along with those along religious lines. “On the religious aspect,” said Stark. “I don’t care about that.”

Residents were particularly keen on hearing Stark’s take on a number pressing national issues circulating in Washington, among them, the possibility of a government shutdown and rising gas prices from uncertainty in the Middle East.

If a budget deal between Democrats and Republicans is not reached soon, the federal government could fall into sleep mode as early as March 4. "I hope this is all a game chicken,” said Stark, who expressed disbelief Republicans are using a famously unsuccessful tactic from 1995 to shut the government down. Many believe the decision directly led to President Bill Clinton’s re-election the next year.

Stark says the local fallout of a shutdown will likely mean late social security checks and other services offered by the government slowing to a standstill. “Politically speaking, I can’t understand any politician going back to their district and saying to them, ‘well, we fixed you’,” said Stark.

As revolution creeps across the Arab world from Tunisia to Egypt to Cairo, the price of democracy is being paid increasingly at the pump for many of Stark’s constituents. In response to two questions regarding opening the federal petroleum reserves, Stark said he sees no reason to tap those reserves. In many East Bay communities, gasoline prices are quickly spiking towards $4-per-gallon. He also voiced support for billionaire natural gas magnate T. Boone Pickens and his desire to wean the country off foreign oil in favor of cleaner alternatives. “I would rather buy natural gas from him,” said Stark, who acknowledged Pickens’s extensive stake in the alternative, “than buy oil from overseas.”

POLITICS HOMEGROWN eastbaycitizen.com


  1. Why is Stark holding a crucifix in the photo? He looks like a deranged pedophile priest.

  2. He is holding a microphone.

  3. "As revolution creeps across the Arab world from Tunisia to Egypt to Cairo, the price of democracy is being paid increasingly at the pump for many of Stark’s constituents."

    Last I checked...we live in a Republic and should not be paying for some other countries "Democracy."

    Show me a politician that pays for his/her own gas. Why can't we pump natural gas from our own homes? Easy install to tap into the gas line. Can't. Bastards.

  4. I think a better defense of marriage would be o ban old ass poliicians from marrying women 30 years younger.

  5. President Obama and Rep. Stark are not above the law.

    To understand the magnitude of Obama's action, we must again consider the above-cited fact that both chambers of Congress passed DOMA by overwhelming majorities reflecting the will of the people that marriage be defined, for legal and policy purposes, as it always had been. Also, no federal appellate court has ruled the statute unconstitutional.

    As he has in so many other areas (EPA, the offshore drilling ban, IMF), Obama has usurped the authority of the other two coequal branches of government to make himself, in effect, not just chief executive but super-legislator and a supreme judicial authority.

    So now we have an imperial president who is refusing to enforce a law passed by powerful congressional majorities while persisting in enforcing a law (ObamaCare) that two federal courts have already ruled unconstitutional. The only common denominator is that Obama believes he is the law.

  6. I think Obama is trying to switch the focus away from union protesters so his Wall St. buddies can continue to get rich.

    I don’t think what Obama is doing is much different than all those secret executive orders Bush signed. In my opinion, that’s worse and actually the imperial presidency you’re talking about.

  7. There is not much of a difference between Obama and Bush 2...people need to really wake up and understand that and accept it. He's doing what every idiot on the left said McCain would do; serving Bush's third term. I'll add that he's just more pro-union & entitlement.

  8. Pete Stark is a jackass, his constituents are jackasses. Every dumbass welfare loving moron around here votes for him. Enough said. These losers who vote for Stark, Jerry Brown, of Obama have all the moral character of a whore on San Pablo Avenue. No difference whatsoever. But at least the whore is honest.

  9. Nick falsely reports a fact and misrepresents others regarding the Defense of Marriage Act and the Affordable Care Act.

    The following summaries of two Federal appelate court decisions regarding DOMA are from Wikipedia:

    In 2009, United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit Judge Stephen Reinhardt declared DOMA unconstitutional in an employment dispute resolution tribunal, where the federal government refused to grant spousal benefits to Tony Sears, the husband of deputy federal public defender Brad Levenson.

    In 2008, Karen Golinski, a 19-year employee of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, applied for health benefits for her spouse. When that application was denied, she filed a complaint under the Ninth Circuit's Employment Dispute Resolution Plan. Chief Judge Alex Kozinski ruled in 2009 that she was entitled to spousal health benefits.

    Nick also fails to acknowledge the difference between declining to defend a law, arguing against a law, and refusing to enforce a law. The Department of Justice will not mount an argument in court against DOMA, and it will enforce the law until the law is overturned. It is apparent that DOMA will be defended in court; plenty of organizations have expressed interest in doing so. The DOJ's decision does not prevent the law's defense.

    Nick claims that the Executive branch is wrong on DOMA because the law was passed with majorities in both chambers of Congress. Then he ignores his own justifcation when he speaks of Federal health care reform being judged unconstitutional. The Affordable Care Act was passed by both chambers of Congress; wouldn't a judgement against it disrespect "the will of the people?" This is undeniably true if we agree with Nick's claim that "we live in a Republic, not a Democracy."

    Of course, Nick also avoids the fact that three Federal judges have found the ACA constitutional, outnumbering those who have found against the Act. If you're trying to persuade people by misreporting and distorting the facts, I guess it's understandable that he would do these things. Karl Rove and Frank Luntz would be proud of him.