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Ain’t that a kick in the seat!

09 Jul

DOMA Prop 8 PosterEvery fight for equality, from freeing the slaves(1) in America (further affected by the black civil rights movement) as well as woman’s suffrage and the eventual passage of the 19th Amendment(2), has been met with setbacks from time to time.

Similarly, each fight has eventually been won when cooler heads and open-minds were allowed to prevail.

Our country was founded on the premise that all men are created equal(3); that no one person, judged on his or her gender or race, among other considerations, is any lesser of a man or woman than any other citizen of the United States. This isn’t to say we haven’t our own fair share of history that is stained with bigotry, prejudice and attempts to oppress others but as our country grows and matures, so too do our attitudes and the documents upon which this great nation was built.

Efforts made on behalf of the LGBT community; both, at the state and federal levels are no different. We have suffered setbacks and we have celebrated victories (on occasion, many times over(4) due to the appeals process) but every one of us who has fought the fight has done so with the belief that our efforts will not be in vain. We’re convinced that we are “doing the right thing, for ourselves as well as for those who will come after us” — and we believe that the fight will be successful.

Today, there is definitely cause for celebration and to breathe a short sigh of relief for on the 8th day of July 2010, the United States District Court (District of Massachusetts) has found in our favor.

U.S. District Judge Joseph L. Tauro has ruled that “Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional with respect to claims brought by seven married same-sex couples and three widowers from Massachusetts. Under the ruling, the plaintiffs are entitled to the same federal spousal benefits and protections as every other married couple.”

Of course, just as GLAD did say, “We know this is likely not the final word on section 3 of DOMA. The government will almost assuredly appeal.” But it is a little bit heart-warming all the same to see evidence that we are making ever more progress on the marriage equality front.

I still maintain that eventually, true equality will be achieved and we can finally begin to breathe more easily and relieve ourselves of our activist garb.

Namaste,
Michael

Related Links:

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley Files Constitutional Challenge to Federal Defense of Marriage Act

“Today, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts takes an important step toward ensuring equality and fairness for its citizens and maintaining our authority as a sovereign state,” said Attorney General Coakley. “DOMA affects residents of Massachusetts in very real and very negative ways by depriving access to important economic safety nets and other protections that couples count on when they marry and that help them to take care of one another and their families.” more »

Challenging Federal Marriage Discrimination

“John and I were together for 60 years. But after I lost him, during the hardest time of my life, the federal government pulled away the social security safety net I’ve been paying into all these years.”
  — Herbert Burtis more »

Court Deals Blow to DOMA

“In a major victory for marriage equality advocates, a federal judge in Boston ruled Thursday in two separate cases that a critical portion of the federal Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional.” […] “In one challenge brought by the state of Massachusetts, U.S. district judge Joseph Tauro ruled that Congress violated the U.S. Constitution when it passed DOMA and took from the states decisions concerning which couples can be considered married.” more »

Unanimous ruling: Iowa marriage no longer limited to one man, one woman

Basic fairness and constitutional equal protection were the linchpins of Friday’s historic Iowa Supreme Court ruling that overturned a 10-year-old ban on same-sex marriage and puts Iowa squarely in the center of the nation’s debate over gay rights. more »

LezGetReal.com

The ruling stems from the lawsuit Gill et al v. Office of Personnel Management et al, filed by Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) in March 2009. […] “Today the Court simply affirmed that our country won’t tolerate second-class marriages,” said Mary Bonauto, GLAD’s Civil Rights Project Director, who argued the case. “I’m pleased that Judge Tauro recognized that married same-sex couples and surviving spouses have been seriously harmed by DOMA and that the plaintiffs deserve the same opportunities to care and provide for each other and for their children that other families enjoy.” more »

Footnotes:

(1)

Slavery existed as a legal institution on American soil before the founding of the United States in 1776, and remainded a legal feature of American society until the passage of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States in 1865.

(2)

Passed by Congress June 4, 1919, and ratified on August 18, 1920, the 19th Amendment to the Constitution guarantees all American women the right to vote.

(3)

From the beginning of our country’s conception, the founding fathers did decree all persons were to be treated as equals; that no one person was born a ‘better person’ and deserving of more rights and opportunities than any other. Though it was so stated in the Declaration of Independence, we still struggle to live up to the ideals and so our country’s Revolution is never-ending and our Constitution is a living document, which is amended from time to time as we strive to live up to the founding father’s true intent.

(4)

John Geddes Lawrence and Tyron Garner petitioned (Case #02-102) the Supreme Court of the United States, alleging that the [Texas] state sodomy law (21.06) violates the constitutional rights of ALL persons and as well, does unduly focus on those as expressed by same-sex couples. SCOTUS found in their favor, at which time Texas did AGAIN attempt to demonstrate it’s homophobia through Section 21.07 of the Texas Penal Code. (The state did attempt to veil its ridiculous attitude by claiming this was simply a matter of Public Lewdness.“) Attitudes are slowly evolving, such that more and more are accepting of LGBT persons but there was a time when “buggering a male servant” could result in your being hanged. more »

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About The Author

54-years old and determined to sail through life with a smile (but sometimes brash as hell). LOL. Born and raised in Carlsbad, New Mexico but having lived more than half of my life in Texas. Raised with a strong faith in God but describe myself more as simply a faithful person rather than a Christian. (Too many people rely on their religious 'beliefs' as an excuse to maintain a closed mind rather than emulate the loving nature I believe Jesus Christ did represent.) Registered as a Democrat but fiscally I'm probably more likely to identify with the Republicans. Am equally disgusted with both parties at the moment and tired of the status quo in Washington, D.C. I'm a spiritualist who believes you should reach for your dreams and believes you can attain them, for the only thing that really stands between you and your goals ... is yourself. Favorite quote of recent is "Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, the present is a 'present' (a gift)..." —Author unknown

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  1. Sebastian

    July 10, 2010 at 4:02 am

    It’s too late tonight to step in here. I will only make one observation. I think the “gay marriage issue” has become a symbol and the whipping boy for all kinds of gay-straight issues.

    Too little attention is given to the fullness of the nature and purpose of marriage, the relationship between sex, love and marriage.

    I some times think, though, that all the fighting over gay marriage, may force all of us to reassess marriage and how its importance and value can be reaffirmed.

    I gave a toast at a legal gay wedding and ended it by saying, “Gay marriage may save marriage for all of us. Straight society doesn’t seem to be doing it.”

    If legal gay marriage gay marriage is passed and some religious communities are against it, there is no necessity to witness any marriages at all. For example, for years in some counties it is the standard practice that there is a civil marriage and distinct from that there is a Church sacramental marriage.

    All I’m saying that we cannot reduce the debate to the exercise of power; to see whether the those who believe homosexuality or homosexual behavior is completely immoral or that marriage is only a legal or economic issue that “proves we are equal.”

    Is there any place where both (all) the “sides” can agree to begin from a common place where they can agree?

     
    • MichaelM

      July 10, 2010 at 7:32 am

      Interesting thoughts… I do hope that we will all take the time to reassess our relationships and how much more can be gained if we begin to look at them as being more sacred. It’s clear that in recent years, marriage has become more a “union of expectations” rather than symbolic of a real, deeper progression of one’s relationship from one level to the next. People do not treat their relationships with loved ones with nearly as much respect, nor do they value them as much as I think they probably should. If that were not the case we would not be seeing as many divorces as we have. I don’t know; perhaps the whole marriage equality issue will, when equality IS achieved (which I believe it will) have just the opposite effect on marriages across the board as that which those who presently oppose marriage for same-sex couples do think it will. Time will tell… Thanks for the comment.

       
  2. Davide

    July 9, 2010 at 6:29 pm

    I know this is going to come as a complete shock but I agree with the judge. Omg right? Yes I believe in state rights. Mass has already ruled that same-sex couple can get married. So they should get the same treatment of straight couples. Even though this decision only effects couples in Mass no other state I believe it’s the correct desision. 1996 congress overwhelming passed this and Clinton signed into law. There is talk the Obama is looking into appealing-but he is against this bill-he would like congress to legislate another bill defeating the current bill. I believe in state rights. many republicans and tea party supporters support this decision, I know hard to believe. Even though I support a complete ban on same-sex marriages cause I do not view it as discrimnation-I view that justice requires such laws to be passed. But if a state allows same-sex marriages than I support it. Rather see by democracy such as California than judicial fiat. In California the supreme court is looking if the people of California who passed a ban on same-sex marriage was constitutional. There is word out on the street the court will decide with the people. The people have spoken. Ofcourse could go the opposite way and the court has spoken. I guess if the court agrees with the people of California then another ballet would need to be voted on. But I am not constitutional scholar. I would support a US amendment the bans same-sex marriages and it would put an end to it. However this will never happen. Think enough states would vote for it not congress. Or of course there could be a constitutional amendment that would make same marriages legal and that would put an end to it. Either case 1997 experts thought gay marriages would be allowed in every state by 2010. Of course the opposite has happened 29 states have banned same sex marriages. Only time will tell. Not going lose sleep over it. I just wonder if gay marriages are allowed in every state will we see catholic priest thrown in jail such as what happened in holland for refusing to marry same sex couples?

    If so this is a clear violation of human rights. Or will they have exceptions like Mass that do not force priest to marry same sex marriage? Any rate this battle will continue for decades unless something finally gives. But I do support state rights. If Ohio passed a law passing same sex marriages I would accept it. Thanks

     
    • MichaelM

      July 9, 2010 at 7:20 pm

      I don’t think I will ever quite understand how you can be gay and content with living your life without the same benefits and protections that your straight siblings would enjoy (were they married), Davide, but I appreciate the comment all the same. FWIW, that was not intended as an insult; I really don’t understand.

      Regardless, yes, this is a state issue for now and as long as the Federal govt. does not see fit to recognize the injustice (my opinion) of what they themselves are doing it will remain so. I believe that elected representatives all-too-often cave in to the wishes of those constituents who think it is acceptable to put civil rights up “for a vote.” In my opinion, it is not alright to legislate such rights, nor was it ever the intent of the founding fathers that this happen — rights are rights, period; we do not legislate in ways that allow ‘some’ to enjoy a right while at the same time disallowing others to do the same.

      Inasmuch as marriage is concerned, it all [should] come down to one thing; is Party-A and Party-B in love with and committed to live out their lives with one another? If they are, they should be able to marry and enjoy all of the rights, benefits and protections that would be bestowed on a couple (both, straight or gay) whosoever so chooses to enter into such a binding, legal union.

      Instead, our govt. continues to allow the focus to be shifted; not on whether the couple loves and is committed to one another but, rather, on the gender of each.

      (This is where it gets tricky and the conversation between you and I always breaks down…)

      I seem to recall you believe homosexuality is not about love, even as a gay man yourself. You and I will always disagree whereas an opinion like that is concerned. Sex is usually (though not always) a part of any given loving relationship, but the ‘presence’ of sex does not make that relationship any more or less one of love. It is just as possible for gay men and women to participate in relationships that are loving, as one would expect of those in the straight community. It’s a disservice to a gay couple to say theirs is nothing more than a sexual relationship, just because they are both of the same gender. That is simply my opinion, however.

      Thanks for the comment, Davide. I appreciate hearing from you.

      Namaste,
      Michael

       
      • Davide

        July 9, 2010 at 8:34 pm

        I know Michael you don’t understand gay men like me. Maybe you are suppose to understand. But all is well

         
  3. Rose

    July 9, 2010 at 11:14 am

    Great comment, but for now this decision only affects Massachusetts and the 1st District.

    It will take a little longer to reach the rest of us!!!

     
    • MichaelM

      July 9, 2010 at 6:52 pm

      Yep! (For now…) But it is a nice change of pace, given the setbacks we’ve seen in some of the other states. Nice to see you here, Rose. Thanks for the comment!