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Obama administration’s defense of Defense Of Marriage Act is hot topic during LA Gay Pride weekend

West Hollywood Pride Parade by you.At today’s LA Pride Parade and Saturday night’s Lifeworks Mentoring event, the number one topic was a stunning Justice Department brief filed Thursday in support of the Defense of Marriage Act which many feel went entirely too far for an administration that had campaigned on LGBT equal rights.
I attended a press conference Sunday morning before the Pride Parade started at which Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom were the main attractions. They gave rousing speeches then took a few questions. My friend Karen Ocamb of Frontiers IN LA Magazine wasted no time in asking the two mayors about the DOMA filing.

Both were very careful with their answers and clearly did not want to directly criticize President Barack Obama who, so far, has increasingly frustrated thew LGBT community with his lack of action on a host of LGBT issues. In his campaign for the White House, Obama pledged to repeal DOMA.

“I’m not going to walk down the path of controversy by suggesting that President Obama’s not going to step up and do what he said he was going to do and I have confidence he’ll get there,” Newsom said. “I think it’s a question of timing. I was concerned obviously about the DOMA filing. There were a lot of commitments made on DOMA, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and hate crimes. We need to make sure that those are advanced. But again, we’re just just five-and-a-half, six months into an administration and so there’s time. But obviously that filing is of some concern so we will obviously make that point in an appropriate manner.”

Newsom added: “I still believe that this president will be, I think, the biggest champion and friend of the LGBT community that we’ve ever had. I’m confident of that at the end of the day. But right now, we obviously look forward to seeing some more examples of that in the months and years ahead.”

Villaraigosa echoed Newsom’s remarks but made clear his displeasure with the brief: “While I’m not a lawyer, I can tell you that I don’t understand the legal reasoning in the federal brief … I’m concerned about the implications of some of the arguments that are being made by the justice department.”

“I can tell you that I do believe that President Obama is a man of his word, one who understands that this issue of civil rights is an issue that can’t be limited to just some of us. It has to be a value that we support and fight for for all of us. And the issue of marriage equality and hate crimes and discrimination are issues that transcend any one group and they really speak to our values as Americans.”

LA Gay Pride 2009 by you.

While I follow politics closely, I fortunately have close friends who are among the best at what they do. They were also at the press conference so I point you to their more extensive coverage. Michael Finnegan’s report can be found at and Ted Johnson’s can be found soon at Variety’s Wilshire and Washington blog. Karen Ocamb’s coverage will be at

(Pictured above are Ted, me and Michael after the press conference and before the parade. The three of us also had a great time at Lifeworks and a fun dinner after. Great weekend with great friends!)


(All comments are reviewed before being published, and I review submissions several times per day.)

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