NPR was playing on the radio while I ate my bowl of cereal. The news announcer said that the Supreme Court of The United States had overturned DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act). I danced a jig around my living room while my dogs looked at me like I'd lost my mind. Elated I made a couple of congratulatory phone calls while the nuance of the decision started to come over the air.
As the details of the decision started coming out I realized that this was just another step in a long journey instead of what I had hoped would be the last step: full equality and equal civil rights for LGBT Americans. A few days after the announcement my primary emotion was sadness, due to disappointment in the Supreme Court for not seeing this all the way through to full equality for every person, regardless of sexual orientation.
The positive of the repeal of DOMA is that LGBT couples in U.S. states that recognize gay marriage will have equal access to the more than 1,100 federal and state benefits that heterosexual couples have had all along. Just as important, same-sex spouses of military members will be now be given the same benefits as opposite-sex spouses. My article 27 Reasons To Support Gay Marriage explains what some of these benefits are.
Yet I'm disappointed. I live in one of the states that has not legalized gay marriage. How many individual law suits, in how many individual states, will have to be brought to The Supreme Court before gay civil rights is the law of the entire land? 13 states plus the district of Columbia have legalized gay marriage. Only 38 to go. It's a culture war and like all wars it's a long slow slog.
Various analysts in the news this week says that The Supreme Court may have done the smart thing by not making each state honor gay marriage. According to these analysts, if The Supreme Court had declared gay marriages legal in all states then we'd be faced with a situation almost identical to Roe v Wade, the abortion debate. Keep Reading...
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