Thursday, August 6, 2009

Defense of Marriage ACT----DOMA

The Defense of Marriage Act was signed into law in 1996 by then-President Bill Clinton during the height of his re-election bid. (REALLY?) The proposed purpose of this Act is to defend the sanctity of marriage and make sure that marriage is specifically defined as being between a man and a woman. Now if you are born a woman, have a sex change and then you want to marry your girlfriend…you can. As long as the added penile appendage makes you the opposite sex, it’s all legal. Watch, Chaz Bono is gonna do it.

We hear a lot about Civil Unions but I am not sure that most people, if any, understand what that really means. A Civil Union is basically a registered domestic partnership. It does not extend tax privileges, social security death benefits or many of the other “perks” that “traditional marriage” offers. A “marriage” is recognized across state lines, a civil union is not. Can you imagine crossing the state line and….POOF, you are not married anymore? All of the supposed rights and privileges of Civil Unions are null and void in the eyes of Federal Law as well. When you file your taxes, you check the SINGLE box. So even if the state you live in allows gay marriage, you are not afforded the Federal benefits of marriage because you are not recognized federally, which is a whole other issue unto itself. I digress. You cannot put your same-sex spouse’s children on your healthcare plan as they are not “legally” your kid but in a “traditional family” where mom has 8 babies by 5 different daddies; her 6th husband could cover all of the children that are not his because he has that piece of paper declaring him “married”.

Imagine this scenario: You are in a long term relationship with the love of your life. Your love is not recognized by the state that you live in so you are forced to settle with less rights and privileges than your fellow citizens. Your lover gets sick and can no longer work. You are not a “traditional family”; therefore you cannot add your partner of 10 years to your insurance because your state does not require extension of healthcare benefits to same-sex couples. So your love is sick, with no insurance, no income and you can’t even take off work to help our or take care of them because FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) does not allow for your situation either. Only “traditional families” need apply there as it is a FEDERAL perk for which your “union” is not recognized. Fast forward a few months and your love is dying in a hospital bed because they have no insurance. If you are not an immediate family member you can be turned away from visiting your love. You will not legally have the right to make life altering decisions for them because your “union” is not recognized. If your love dies and their family wants to make your life hell, they can. Many people jointly own a home in 1 persons name (due to lending laws on non-married borrowers, please don’t get me started there) so if your name is not on that house and your love dies, you have no where to live. Their family can strip you of your home if they so choose. You will not receive death benefits that your love paid their whole life so that their love could be cared for when they are gone. If you have children together, you could have a whole new struggle on your hands just to keep your kids under your roof. You might actually have to fight for custody of your children against family members or the state.

Civil Unions are a separate and unequal means to shut-up the gay community, as are “registered domestic partnerships”. What a joke! The one thing that I really don’t understand about the DOMA is that it is fiercely led by religious communities. I understand the far right has some far-out ideas of homosexuality being like bestiality and if we let gays marry we might as well all screw sheep. They also have this idea that one can be “saved” from the pits of homosexuality. I find most of the folks who need saving have a massive Jesus complex coupled with the old, “my mommy didn’t love me so I secretly sleep with men”. I don’t understand what difference it would make to the churchies or recovering gay addicts to just live and let live. How does my sister being able to legally marry her wife have any bearing on you? Does it affect your relationship? Does it take away your rights? Will you become…unmarried when you cross the state line? Do you think it is an epidemic that will render you powerless to the draw of the same sex? If you are a DOMA defender I really do want to hear from you…although I doubt you would be reading this here blog:-)

This all started because HRC, the Human Rights Campaign (you know, the blue and yellow equality sign), e-mailed me asking for my support in contacting my local representatives with my story. The question was: Please explain to us how the DOMA is affecting you and your family. My response is below.


My sister and her wife (they were married in Canada but are not recognized as a married couple here in the land of the free) cannot get tax benefits, survivor benefits or even the right to be the decision maker for each other in the event of a medical crisis. Their employers are not required to provide health coverage to "non-traditional" families. There are few laws for hate crimes based on sexual orientation so they could be mugged, murdered and raped BECAUSE of their sexual orientation and that would be ok according to the laws that govern us. They can both be legally dismissed/fired/let go from their jobs in the state that we live in for disclosing their sexual orientation. My biggest issue with DOMA is using God as an excuse. What happened to separation of church and state? Land of the free, home of the brave? Life, liberty and the pursuit of HAPPINESS? Anyone care anymore?

Some of my favorite examples of the sanctity of marriage:
Britney’s 55 hour marriage to Jason Alexander
Governor Mark Sanford- cheating in Buenos Aires
Zsa Zsa Gabor- married 9 times….9 times! 1 was for just 1 day!
Pam and Kid- married just 4 months
Pam Anderson and Rick Salomon- married just 2 months
Eddie Murphy and Tracey E. Edmonds- They had that “civil union” but never officially married and split just 2 weeks after their ceremony.
Nicholas Cage and Lisa Marie Presley- 3.5 months
Renee Zellweger and Kenny Chesney- 4 months
Dennis Rodman and Carmen Electra- Dennis called no joy after 2 weeks but they remained “married” for 6 months
J. Lo and Chris Judd as well as Ojani Noa (I know, I forgot him too!)
Jim Carey and Lauren Holly- 9 months
Helen Hunt and Hank Azaria- 11 months
John Edwards could have been our president while he was making babies with someone other than his wife.
Mark Foley- e-mailed his young mail pages with requests for BJ’s
Eliot Spitzer- prostitution scandal
The Lewinsky scandal

Ok, so you get my point on the sanctity of marriage then, right? The only way to create change is to talk about issues and bring about understanding. Most people do not understand DOMA. When Prop 8 (or H8) as I prefer to call it went on the ballot in California it was:

Yes to be against gay marriage (Yes to take their rights)

No to be for Gay Marriage (No, don’t be a bigot)

There was only a 4% swing to the other side. I am going to say that is a tricky question, that, when worded more clearly in the future will hopefully be thrown out altogether. I believe that we were all created equal. I believe we are all entitled to the same rights and privileges as the next person. I believe it is time that we start backing up the values that this country was founded on.

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