By Dave Wedge
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, one of the nation’s leading gay rights champions, blasted President Obama yesterday over a controversial anti-gay marriage court filing and is calling on the commander in chief to explain himself.
“I think the administration made a big mistake. The wording they used was inappropriate,” Frank (D-Newton) said of a brief filed by Obama’s Department of Justice that supported the Defense of Marriage Act.
The DOJ brief, which has touched off a firestorm of anger in the gay community, argued that states should not have to recognize same-sex marriages from other states, just as states don’t have to recognize incestuous marriages or unions involving underage girls.
“I’ve been in touch with the White House and I’m hoping the president will make clear these were not his views,” Frank said.
The controversy has prompted some prominent gay political donors and activists to boycott a gay/lesbian Democratic National Committee fund-raiser being co-hosted by Frank next week in Washington, D.C., Vice President Biden is slated to be the keynote speaker, but protests could mar the $1,000-a-head event.
Among those who’ve already pulled out of the fund-raiser are noted gay bloggers Andrew Towle and David Mixner, a former adviser to President Clinton.
Mixner called the DOJ brief “a sickening document that could have been written by the Rev. Pat Robertson.”
“Using the worst of stereotypes, it intimates that we don’t have constitutional guarantees, invokes scenarios of incest, of children and advocates that we don’t have the same rights as others,” Mixner wrote on his blog.
Frank said he understands the rage but vowed that the fund-raiser - one of the gay community’s biggest of the year - will go on.
“There are a lot of people who aren’t boycotting,” he said. “I think it’s a mistake to deny money to the DNC.”
DNC Treasurer Andrew Tobias, a staunch gay rights advocate, defended Obama, telling Politico, “If this debacle of a brief represented the president’s views, I’d boycott too. I totally understand all the hurt and anger . . . (but I) still personally totally believe in the president.”