The Defense of Marriage Act passed under a Republican Congress and signed by Bill Clinton wherein it defines marriage as being between a man and a woman. In 2011 – the Obama administration said that it would continue to abide by the law but that it would no longer defend it in court. The House Republicans appointed their own General Counsel to defend the constitutionality of this law since the Department of Justice would no longer do so. Section three of DOMA has been found unconstitutional on eight separate occasions in federal courts now; the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals today ruled 2 – 1 striking down Section 3 of DOMA one more time. Judge Dennis Jacobs – a George H. W. Bush appointee – wrote the majority opinion … where he wrote, “But law (federal or state) is not concerned with holy matrimony. For that, the pair must go next door.” You can read the entire opinion HERE.
And you know – this is a BIG F-CKING DEAL for those people who are LGBT. Currently - if your partner dies – you aren’t entitled to any of the same rights a heterosexual person is under federal law regardless if your state recognizes gay marriage. If you want to be on your partner’s health plan; you can’t. If you want to claim rights to your partner’s Social Security benefits are they die; you can’t. The law is discriminatory and treats the LGBT community like 2nd class citizens. If you don’t support gay marriage – don’t engage in it. End of story. Next stop: the Supreme Court.
Mitt Romney not only supports the Defense of Marriage Act – he wants to create a Constitutional Amendment defining marriage as being between a man and a woman. Quite clearly – he believes the views of the majority should infringe on the rights of the minority here. See it for yourself:
The General Accounting Office wrote a letter to the House of Representatives regarding the 13 different categories a person’s marital status could be affected by according to federal law. You can read that law HERE; those 13 categories a gay person could be denied benefits or the same rights as a heterosexual person are:
Once again – 2nd class citizens.
HuffPo explains the ruling in a little more detail HERE:
The Second Circuit’s ruling applied heightened scrutiny, or “intermediate scrutiny,” as they called it in the opinion. This form of review is stricter than the lenient “rational basis review,” in which statutes can pass constitutional muster as long as they are “rationally related” to a “legitimate state interest.” Heightened scrutiny requires a more rigorous review of statutes for equal protection deficiencies that may exist. Typically, this “quasi-suspect class” status (based on the idea that a classification of people into groups is somewhat suspect or suspicious without a good reason) requires the kind of review applied to claims of sex discrimination instead of simply deciding whether there is a rational reason for the law. The court must ask if the classification is “substantially related” to an “important government interest.”
The judges wrote that there are four factors to consider when applying heightened scrutiny, and that gays and lesbians satisfy all of them:
A) homosexuals as a group have historically endured persecution and discrimination; B) homosexuality has no relation to aptitude or ability to contribute to society; C) homosexuals are a discernible group with non-obvious distinguishing characteristics, especially in the subset of those who enter same-sex marriages; and D) the class remains a politically weakened minority.
Reuters picked up this quote HERE:
Brian Brown, the president of the National Organization for Marriage, the leading group opposing same-sex marriage, called the decision “yet another example of judicial activism and elite judges imposing their views on the American people.”
That’s hilarious. So judges giving people the freedom to do what they will is an example of “judicial activisim … imposing their views on the American people” but when a group of almost exclusively heterosexual politicians (at least publicly) votes to impose their views on the minority of LGBT Americans … that’s perfectly fine?
There are several problems with DOMA.
#1 – It’s a civil rights violation. The law institutionalizes real financial hardship for gays and lesbians and gives preferential treatment for heterosexuals based off mostly a religious foundation. And by the way – churches can turn away whomever they want to marry; churches are not required to recognize everyone as it is today. Some churches won’t marry someone unless they’re of the faith.
#2 – Whatever happened to Republicans believing in States’ rights? DOMA overrides those rights of the states who have already legalized gay marriage. Six states have already legalized it and another – Maryland – is likely to legalize it via popular vote in less than a month. DOMA overrides the wishes and interests of those states. You can’t be both for states’ rights and against it simultaneously but some Republicans still today say “slavery was good for black people” (source) … so not everyone who supports DOMA is playing with a full deck.
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