A group of African-American civil rights leaders and pastors launched an impeachment campaign Feb. 25 against Attorney General Eric Holder for his efforts to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), including his invitation Monday to state attorneys general not to uphold their “discriminatory” traditional marriage laws.
The Coalition of African American Pastors (CAAP) is seeking to garner at least one million signatures.
“It’s one thing to make a political argument that gay marriage should be the law, but it’s quite another to take actions that ignore federal law, Supreme Court rulings, and the constitutions of dozens of states that have specifically rejected the redefinition of marriage which the administration is trying to impose,” CAAP President and Founder Rev. Bill Owens said in a press release.
Owens said the idea to start the petition began after Obama’s 2011 decision to stop defending DOMA, which eventually was overruled. The pastors of the CAAP believe Obama’s decision to champion the gay rights movement as a civil rights movement is a gross misapplication.
“They are trying to stand on the backs of real civil rights characters that stood up for what they believe regardless of who they were dealing with. I detest [the Obama administration for] calling it a civil rights movement. It’s not a civil rights movement; it’s a civil wrongs movement,” Owens said.
On Feb. 8, Attorney General Eric Holder announced a Department of Justice extension of benefits to same-sex married couples, even in states that did not recognize same-sex marriage.
The extension included protection of same-sex marriage health insurance benefits for federal employees, equal rights for tax filing purposes, and the ability for a same-sex spouse to decline testifying against his/her spouse in a civil or criminal case. In addition, rights afforded to federal inmates in same-sex marriages such as visitation by a spouse, inmate furlough to be present during a crisis involving a spouse, or compassionate release and reduction in sentence based on the incapacitation of an inmate now reflect those of heterosexual marriages.
“In every courthouse, in every proceeding and in every place where a member of the Department of Justice stands on behalf of the United states, they will strive to ensure that same-sex marriages receive the same privileges, protections and rights as opposite-sex marriages under federal law,” Holder said to a crowd at the Human Rights Campaign in New York.
This is not the first time a call for impeachment has been made against Holder. In fact, in late 2013, Rep. Pete Olson (R-TX) tried to get members of Congress to sign an Articles of Impeachment resolution. One tenet of the four-part document cited impeachment due to Holder’s failure to enforce DOMA.
As of early Tuesday evening, the online petition had fewer than 7,000 signatures.