Today is a historical day for those of us who live in the United States of America, and one that I will always celebrate.
Because today, the Supreme Court ruled that section 3 of DOMA (the Defense of Marriage Act) is unconstitutional and that federal marriage benefits cannot be legally denied to same sex marriages.
Let me break this down for you… this means that:
1. same sex couples cannot be denied spousal exemptions on income or estate taxes
2. same sex couples cannot be denied the right of survivorship, pensions, or retirement programs
3. same sex couples cannot be denied joint insurance policies
4. same sex couples cannot be denied the ability to apply for immigration and residency for their partners from other countries.
5. same sex couples cannot be denied the time off work to take sick leave to care for a partner, or a partner’s child
6. same sex couples cannot be denied being able to make critical medical decisions, and the right to be together in crisis situations (such as a hospital emergency room).
Please think about these and try to imagine how laws prohibiting you from making these decisions for or receiving these benefits because of your spouse would make you feel. I seriously doubt it would make you feel all ‘snuggly’ inside… it would most certainly piss me off.
DOMA has given me ‘tummy troubles’ ever since I first heard about it. There is nothing in me that feels that it is anything but discriminatory… Esp. since it was defending marriages that end in divorce almost 50% of the time in America and since it was defending an institution that claimed to be sacred yet the increasing number of cheating and abusive spouses in this sacred institution is shameful.
My view has always been to let the churches exclude from marriages anyone they want but the Federal government should never exclude anyone from the same rights and benefits granted to another of the same institution thus should grant to all legal marriages the same benefits allotted to others of the same institution.
Basically, the federal government should not be including religious beliefs as a basis for excluding a married couple from benefits it grants to other married couples that do follow the religious indoctrination. Period.
That the Supreme Court ruled the way I would gives me chills and puts a smile on my face that only my daughter has been able to do in the past. Now I know that her marriage will hold the same standing as anyone else’s regardless of who she loves.
This is by no means an end to the fight for equality… we still have a long way to go. But it is a start in the right direction and to me that is definitely progress!
Some of this information was obtained from the following source:
“Amendment 14 of the Constitution guarantees citizens of the United States equal rights. According to the Supreme Court, Marriage is a fundamental right, as ruled in Zablocki v. Redhail (1978). Also, the Supreme Court recognized in 1967 that the freedom to marry is “essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness” and “one of the basic civil rights of man.” Something is considered discrimination if it has then intent or effect of not giving a group equal rights. The “separate but equal” laws were eradicated because even though they did not have the intent of giving inferior treatment to blacks, that was their effect. Therefore, it is not necessary to prove that bans on gay marriage are a result of prejudice. So in practice, not allowing gays to marry is discrimination because they do not receive the same legal benefits that married people do.” Annie Wadlin, 2004 (http://www.wadlin.com/pf_bans.htm)