Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The march toward Marriage Equality

In a pair of stunning rulings, the Supreme Court today struck down the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Proposition 8.

For California, the ruling means that Proposition 8 is nullified and the nation’s most populous state can once again allow same-sex marriages. With marriage reinstated in California, by August 1 nearly 95 million Americans will live in states that recognize same-sex marriage.

Despite the overturning of DOMA, certain states, including Ohio, do not recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. But the effect of that non-recognition is substantially, perhaps fatally, neutered by today's ruling. The Federal government must recognize marriages performed in any state which allows it, as well as marriages performed in other countries (the plaintiff in the DOMA case, Edie Windsor, married her same-sex spouse in Canada). Ultimately, the chief legal benefits and responsibilities of marriage derive from the Federal government. These 1138 statutory provisions touch nearly every aspect of life, from custodial rights, to financial benefits such as survivor’s benefits, to income and estate taxes.

Opponents of same sex marriage have fallen back on the same tired arguments that they’ve been using for over a decade – arguments which are failing to sell with an increasing majority of Americans: 1) that allowing same-sex marriage puts America down the slippery slope that will lead to incestuous marriages and marriages between humans and animals. That argument is so ridiculous that it doesn’t even merit a response, except to point out that there is a correlation between states that allow marriages between first cousins yet outlaw same-sex marriage; 2) that societal values are being degraded and the government is inflicting its will on religious Americans. First, there are numerous religious Americans who support same-sex marriage. Secondly, no one has ever made the assertion that churches should be forced to perform or even accept same-sex marriages. Indeed, I can’t imagine any gay man or lesbian of conscience who would want their marriage performed in a church, temple, or mosque which didn’t accept them.

I've said this before, I shall say it again: The number one reason I have supported the Democratic ticket for President since I became eligible to vote is that the President appoints Justices to the Supreme Court. Four of the five justices who voted to overturn DOMA were appointed by Democratic Presidents: two by President Clinton, two by President Obama. The fifth, Justice Kennedy, was appointed by President Reagan as a compromise when the Democratic Senate Judiciary Committee balked at his original choice: Robert Bork.

As for Ohio, marriage equality will probably be on the ballot in 2014, and it appears increasingly likely that the vile Ohio State Issue 1, passed in 2004, will be repealed. I am cautiously optimistic.

Our love matters...


Dennis Swinford said...

Well stated, Hank. I'd only make a modest correction to the statement that "numerous Americans support same-sex marriage." In fact, the latest polls find that a MAJORITY of Americans support same-sex marriage.

Dennis Swinford
Seattle, WA

Daniel said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Daniel said...

And that is why I was so upset about the doctrine that a certain religious movement has of polygamy. They have to follow that doctrine and then gay marriage is bad???
I'm glad that DOMA was struck down and now our marriage is recognized.
I hope that with this they reconsider that Issue 1 in Ohio.
And for most of all our love is what matters!

Hank Drake said...

Actually, the sentence in question reads "numerous religious Americans support same-sex marriage." I don't think we're quite there with much of that community, but Americans as a whole are consistently showing majority support for marriage equality.


Hi, Hank !

Marriage equality appears to have finally become a subject the so-called civilized world has to face. Here in Brazil, the Supreme Court has just made a historical ruling stating that same-sex marriage is not against the constitution or the civil laws. This is a major breakthrough in a country where the Catholic Church is so powerful (let's not forget that the Vatican, to this day, condemns the use of condoms, contraceptive pills and even divorce ! ), and it means that homosexual couples may now get legally married. Naturally, the Church is fretting and strutting about this, together with the country's right-wing sectors. But the victory is here to stay.
Best regards, Carlos