decision time

Obama's Gay Rights Conundrum

Two California federal appeals judges have put Obama in the rough by ruling that same sex partners of federal employees deserve health coverage. If Obama supports the San Francisco court's personnel office in denying health benefits to same sex couples, he'll tick off the liberal groups that put him in office, but if he backs the rulings, he could alienate the Republicans he's trying to reach out to for support. One judge ruled that the denial of benefits, based on the Defense of Marriage Act's definition of "spouse" as exclusively referring to members of the opposite sex, was unconstitutional because it violated the Fifth Amendment guarantee of due process. It's unclear what the White House will do if the judges enforce their orders, although a White House spokesman said, "While the president opposes gay marriage, he supports legislative repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act. "