Thursday, March 17, 2011

Bye Bye DOMA?

Apparently, some good things have been happening since Tuesday. Legislation to repeal DOMA has been introduced, and now there's a chance it might actually pass the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Now in case you were wondering why this is so important, take a look below.

The so-called Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, purports to give states the "right" to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. A number of authorities, including Laurence Tribe, a Harvard University law professor, have challenged the constitutionality of such a move. The full faith and credit clause of the U.S. Constitution requires states to recognize the "acts, records and proceedings" of all other states. For example, marriages performed today in Mississippi are considered valid in Wisconsin, Oregon, Arizona and every other state. Under this law, same-sex marriages that are legal in one state may or may not be legal in another state.

DOMA also creates a federal definition of "marriage" and "spouse" for the first time in our country's history. This is an unprecedented intrusion by the U.S. Congress into an area traditionally left to the states. Marriage is defined as a "legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife," and spouse is defined as "a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife." Marriages that do not fit this description would not be eligible for any benefits offered by the federal government. Under DOMA, even if a state were to recognize same-sex marriages, the federal government would not. The people involved would be unable to receive a number of benefits, including those related to Social Security, survivorship and inheritance.

Basically, Congress mandated federal agencies in 1996 to treat LGBTQ families as second-class citizens. This blatant and disgusting discrimination must end. And for the first time ever, there's real momentum to make it happen.

According to HRC's new poll, a full 51% of Americans oppose DOMA, while only 34% still support it. So why does House Speaker John Boehner (R-Spray Tan) still want to waste our tax dollars defending it in court, as well as waste everyone's time whining about this rather than doing anything on job creation?

This is why this legislation matters. As I've said before, it's about damned time we do some offense after being beaten to death with no real defense. We need to keep reminding our members of Congress to do what's right for all our families instead of using our community as political footballs for any longer.

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