In Defense of Marriage
By Allison Cook on January 21, 2012
According to a Human Rights Campaign poll, the majority of Americans are in opposition of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the 1996 law that defines marriage as "only a legal union between one man and one woman". When asked by pollsters what issues are important to them, only five percent of respondents listed marriage as an issue that should be a priority in government. Jobs and education are on the minds of Americans - not marriage. I agree that our economy is certainly the big issue at this time, but I worry that DOMA has been put on the back burner. A 2011 bill to repeal DOMA passed the Senate Judiciary Committee 10-8, with all Republicans voting against the repeal, but the Majority Leader, Harry Reid(D-NV), refuses to put it to a vote of the full Senate. Even if it does make it to the House of Representatives, Speaker Boehner will kill it.
President Clinton (yeah, the Democrat one) signed DOMA in 1996 believing it would lead the way toward states making their own laws regarding gay marriage, but the federal government fought it every step of the way. While I see the citizens of this country slowly coming around to embracing equal rights for all couples to marry, it amazes me that than less than one-quarter of employers offer domestic partnership benefits. Even if you live in a state that has granted full marriage rights to gay couples, benefits are not recognized on a federal level according to this wiki article. Section 3 is the part of the bill that is being fought out in courtrooms as we speak...
SEC. 3. DEFINITION OF MARRIAGE.
(a) IN GENERAL.—Chapter 1 of title 1, United States Code,
is amended by adding at the end the following:
‘‘§ 7. Definition of ‘marriage’ and ‘spouse’
‘‘In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of
any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies
of the United States, the word ‘marriage’
means only a legal union between one man and one woman as
husband and wife, and the word ‘spouse’ refers only to a person of the opposite sex
who is a husband or a wife.
While I feel President Obama has been obtuse on the matter of equal marriage, he has made strides to change Section 3. According to wiki this is where DOMA stands now: "Parts of the act have also been deemed unconstitutional by the Barack Obama administration, which announced in 2011 that while they will enforce DOMA, they will not defend it in court." This pretty much means that Congress is going to have to pay to defend DOMA rather than the Department of Justice. At least that pissed Boehner off. Wonder if he wept...
As usual, our leaders are a step behind what the majority of American people want. I understand the Democrats hands are tied with this and many other social issues. Majority rules, always will. I wonder if the time to repeal DOMA, in part or in full, has come and gone. None of the Republican candidates running for President in 2012 support a repeal of DOMA and the window of opportunity may completely close with the next election.
If you support equality for all Americans let the people that are in D.C. under the guise of representing you know where you stand. They live in gilded cages, our leaders...protected from our opinions and issues until they return to their home states - to campaign. Go out to see them if you get the chance. Let them know that you've come around to equality and they should give it some thought. Our Representatives are the only voice we will every have in federal matters - are they speaking for you?
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