Saturday, March 9, 2013

DOMA, Prop 8, and Thou


In just a few weeks, March 26th and March 27th respectively, , the Supreme Court will consider two major cases involving same-sex marriage: one addressing federal DOMA  (Defense of Marriage Act), that restricts the federal government from recognizing same-sex unions performed in those states where they are legal, and the other case Proposition 8” in California, that eliminated the right for same-sex couples to marry, to determine if the ban should stand. In the interim, many citizens have sent Amicus or friend-of-the-court briefs to the Supreme Court justices urging them to uphold the freedom to marry for everyone.

 William Jefferson Clinton Takes a Stand  
As ex-president Bill Clinton states in his op-ed  in The Washington Post yesterday, “it was a very different time seventeen years ago, when I signed The Defense of Marriage Act.” There was no gay marriage.

Clinton is now calling on the Supreme Court to overturn DOMA that he considers incompatible with the Constitution. Like the 42nd president of the United States, our current president has evolved. Obama’s administration has filed an amicus brief saying that DOMA is unconstitutional. It denies benefits, causing stress and added expenses to LGBT persons, of more than a thousand federal statutes and programs available to other heterosexual married couples.

Society Has Evolved, Too
Fast forward to 2012, a watershed year: Last November saw a record number of openly gay LGBT officials elected.  Food became a vehicle for sexual politics: corporations like Keebler created a rainbow cookie to show its support of gay rights. Pro-gay marriage poultry lovers boycotted  Chic-fil-A whose president Cathy opposes gay unions. Former Eagle Scouts mailed their merit badges into Boy Scouts of America, Inc. in Texas to protest the BSA’ policy of banning gay scouts and leaders from their organization. The United States Military Academy (West Point) had its first lesbian wedding. This year is gaining momentum as well.

New Study Reflects More Acceptance, But Pockets of Rejection
Freedom to Marry, an organization that promotes establishing a national right same-sex marriage, released findings yesterday which bears out this theory. Their commissioned study testified that since 2009, support for same-sex unions is “accelerating.” In the United States, the majority of voters are in favor of same-sex marriage, with the most support from under-age- thirty voters.

Other surveys and exit polls from last year’s election suggest that opposition to gay marriage, as analyzed by a Democrat and a Republican, is concentrated among certain populations:  older people, white evangelical Christians, and non-college-educated whites.

On High

Let’s hope that the high court has the wisdom to see that their decisions are about our families, our neighbors, our friends, our co-workers who deserve equal rights recognized and respected by our laws.