Rioter Rob aka Splendificus (gotta love that name) directed my attention to this article about a federal Boston, Mass. judge that recently struck down the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Thank you in advance to Mr. S.
A quick explanation of what DOMA is and does: DOMA federally defines marriage as existing, and able to be created, between a man and a woman. This does not stop states like Idaho, Vermont, Massachusetts and the rest from allowing two men or two women from being married, but it does keep some 1,100 federal benefits away from married gay/lesbian couples. So, even if you are legally married in Vermont or Washington, D.C., and you're a gay couple, you are still denied all of the legal rights straight married couples have.
Dozens of tax breaks and hundreds of other rights - big and small - that are afforded to straight couples by the federal government are NOT given to gay (legally marrried) couples due to DOMA. Until last week.
Judge Joseph L. Tauro ruled that the federal Defense of Marriage law violates the Constitutional right of married same-sex couples to equal protection under the law and upends the federal government’s long history of allowing states to set their own marriage laws.
"This court has determined that it is clearly within the authority of the Commonwealth to recognize same-sex marriages among its residents, and to afford those individuals in same-sex marriages any benefits, rights, and privileges to which they are entitled by virtue of their marital status," Tauro wrote. "The federal government, by enacting and enforcing DOMA, plainly encroaches upon the firmly entrenched province of the state."
What this ruling effectively does is allow those couples that are legally married in states that allow same-sex marriage to enjoy the federal benefits of their union. All of the federal benefits. This ruling does NOT, as some have claimed, end the marriage ban on same-sex marriage across the country. The states are now in complete control, they hold the keys, as to whether gay couples can marry and enjoy the benefits (including personal, state, and federal) of their union.
Of course, opponents of this legislation are coming out of the woodwork crying foul.
Kris Mineau, president of Massachusetts Family Institute called it “another blatant example of a judge playing legislator.... Same-sex marriage activists have tried time and time again to win public approval of their agenda, and they have failed each time,” Mineau said in a statement. “This is why their strategy is to force same-sex ‘marriage’ through judicial fiat, as they did here in Massachusetts and other states. [I am] confident that an appeals court, and ultimately the Supreme Court, will uphold the government’s right to define marriage, strengthening and protecting children and families.”
I would just like to point out that I truly enjoy when people advocate governmental involvement in our personal lives when they're pretty sure it won't affect them, but will - in fact - champion whatever personal cause they have. Like in the early 2000s when everyone was so gung ho about allowing the government to tap our phone lines and read our email and arrest individuals without cause, actually taking them out of the country and torturing them to get some semblance of evidence, all to stop terrorists, because, after all, what do we have to hide? Thanks Patriot Act. (#fail)
It is my sincere hope that this is a step in the right direction. Will an appellate court or the US Supreme Court through this ruling out? Well, pardon the turn of phrase, but I wouldn't rule it out. However, we are living in rapidly changing times. Gay marriage isn't the hot button issue it once was. 2 decades ago when we were begging for Don't Ask Don't Tell to become status quo, those of us that are now working, voting adults were children who didn't care. Now, we're the ones taking the reigns, and we aren't so keen on discrimination.
Times are changing, the tide is turning, and the wheel is moving. I hope that our generation is the group that overturns racist, hate-filled ideas and replaces them with an age of tolerance. If we have to legislate from the bench to get it going, then so be it. Hey, it worked for interracial marriage! It can work for us, too.
What are YOUR thoughts on the subject? Talking heads say that same-sex marriage will pass nationwide within the next decade. Would rather it happen sooner, later, or never? Comment, tweet me, or email IncitingARiotPodcast@gmail.com!
Love and Lyte,