The Second Circuit Court of Appeals today ruled that section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibits the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages sanctioned by the states, is unconstitutional.
Michael Keegan, President of People For the American Way, issued the following statement:
“Every federal court that has reviewed DOMA’s section 3 has found that it violates our constitutional principles. This should be no surprise. DOMA hurts gay and lesbian married couples by denying them some of the most basic protections of marriage, and it does so for no reason but prejudice against LGBT families. Our Constitution guarantees all Americans equal protection under the law, and DOMA clearly violates that principle.
“House Speaker John Boehner has wasted nearly a million and a half taxpayer dollars on defending this indefensible law. I am confident that the Supreme Court would not let DOMA stand, but I hope that they never have to review it. Most Americans don’t want to hurt their gay and lesbian neighbors, and we’ve seen over and over again that DOMA does real harm to real people. Congress must recognize the harm that DOMA has done and repeal it before it hurts more legally married Americans.”
The ballot initiative that revoked marriage equality in California has taken a big step towards having its constitutionality determined by America’s highest court. In a long-awaited move, proponents of Prop 8 have petitioned the Supreme Court to review the Ninth Circuit’s ruling in Hollingsworth .v Perry that the ballot initiative violated the federal Equal Protection Clause. A nearly 500 page document, which can found here, lays out their rationale for urging the court to review the case.
The question presented in the case is: “Whether the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment prohibits the State of California from defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman.” The proponents tell the Court that they should answer the “profoundly important question whether the ancient and vital institution of marriage should be fundamentally redefined to include same-sex couples.” They write that leaving the Ninth Circuit’s decision intact would have “widespread and immediate negative consequences” and would leave the impression that any “experiment” with marriage would be “irrevocable”.
The Ninth Circuit issued a very narrow ruling, avoiding the question of whether gay and lesbian couples in general have a constitutional right to marry. Instead, it based its ruling on narrow grounds unique to California, where same-sex couples were left with all the state rights of marriage but not the name. It found that taking their designation of “marriage” while leaving their rights unchanged did not serve any of the purposes put forth by its defenders. Instead, its only purpose and effect was to lessen a targeted group’s status and dignity by reclassifying their relationship and families as inferior. While the Supreme Court will be presented with the narrower question as framed by the Ninth Circuit, it is impossible to tell, if it agrees to hear the case at all, whether they will rule on this principle or more broadly on the ability of states to deny lesbians and gays the right to marry.
The Supreme Court will likely decide in early October whether or not to hear the case. Back in February, PFAW applauded the decision of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in upholding the decision of the district court striking down Prop 8.
Marriage equality is just one of the many critical issues that will come before the Supreme Court when they reconvene next session. The elevation of Prop 8 to the highest level of the judicial system underscores the increasing importance of the Supreme Court and the Presidential election.
It is a difficult to imagine a more conservative Court than the one we have now, but Mitt Romney has pledged to appoint justices even further to the right then John Roberts and Samuel Alito. Romney has also enlisted far-right judge Robert Bork to advise him on judicial matters.
Visit RomneyCourt.com for more on Mitt Romney’s extreme vision for the Supreme Court.
Right-wing pseudo-historian David Barton, who compares homosexuality to smoking and celebrates the fact that there isn’t a cure for AIDS, said today on WallBuilders Live! with co-host Rick Green that same-sex marriage is much like letting people marry horses or dogs. Discussing the Defense of Marriage Act, Barton warned that marriage equality proponents may try to “evangelize” their belief that “marriage shouldn’t be between a man and a woman” since “that’s unfair for two men who want to be together, or two women, or a horse and a dog, or whatever it is.”
Barton: Other courts, other areas started saying ‘well you know we can’t really justify this position anymore, marriage shouldn’t be between a man and a woman, that’s unfair for two men who want to be together, or two women, or a horse and a dog, or whatever it is,’ so at that point as it looked like the states were starting to mess around the problem you have is the contracts in one state are supposed to be honored by another. So if I make a business contract with you in Texas and we move to Oklahoma, that contract is going to be recognized in Oklahoma. Well on marriage, that’s a contract. So if one state suddenly says we want same-sex marriage and in Texas we say we don’t, just because you got married in Vermont and moved to Texas doesn’t mean we have to recognize your contract.
So that ability of saying one contract is going to be forced on another caused Congress to act in 1996 and say look the federal government and the states both have to deal with marriage, now here’s what we’re doing, on the federal level we are telling you marriage is a man and a woman and everything that deals with marriage on the federal level is going to be considered a man and a woman. They said as far as the states, you states are not going to be bound by the marriage decision of another state. Green: You do it the way you want to do it and don’t expect to be able to export that to another state.
Barton: Don’t use that to try to evangelize the other forty-nine states.
Green: And we won’t let the other states force it on you.
Barton: That’s right.
Ed Meese, who served as attorney general under Ronald Reagan, told Barton and Green that the legalization of same-sex marriage in several states “just shows how the culture has deteriorated over two centuries,” and asserted that same-sex marriage is an attempt to “defy nature.”
Green: It’s almost like they are making it up on the fly, the actual language of the Constitution doesn’t matter; it’s what these judges that happen to be on the bench at the time think it should mean.
Meese: The founders, we go back to the founders, the reason that they didn’t put something in the Constitution to say that marriage is the union of a man and a woman is nobody would have even thought at that time that there could be any other. It just shows how the culture has deteriorated over two centuries.
Green: You also mention that the Defense of Marriage Act should control what’s happening on the military side of things. How have they managed to push through so much with the military in the Obama administration on this issue working around DOMA?
Meese: Well that’s still an open issue and that’s why DOMA is very important. For example, whether chaplains should be required to participate in a homosexual marriage ceremony; whether that would be required as part of their duties, that’s where DOMA is a very important statute. This idea that somehow there is some obscure right in the Constitution to defy nature, as they do in homosexual marriage, is just ludicrous.
Moreandmore activists on the far right have blamed the recent political and legal victories of gay rights advocates on what they perceive as reluctance among conservatives to attack gays and lesbians more directly and aggressively. In response to a recent court ruling that struck down a section of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) as unconstitutional, MassResistance said that supporters of the law must do more to challenge DOMA opponents’ underlying claims that gays and lesbians are “simply a minority group whose rights are illegally being denied by the federal government.”
“As long as homosexual behavior is not presented as abnormal, medically dangerous, and morally repugnant,” the group writes, “we will continue to lose.” MassResistance lamented the use of “cowardly” legal arguments that stress the importance of opposite-sex relationships instead of explicitly attacking homosexuality, concluding, “any legal argument on homosexual ‘marriage’ is bordering on madness, because the concept itself is sheer lunacy. We need to start saying that.”
The decision thus asserts that homosexuality and same-sex "marriage" are legitimate and unassailable from a moral or other standpoint. And from that assertion, homosexual "marriage" and heterosexual marriage are morally and legally interchangeable. And homosexuals are simply a minority group whose rights are illegally being denied by the federal government. This is all the homosexual groups needed to move forward.
The homosexual movement knows it cannot accomplish its goals through the ballot box (they've lost 32 state elections in a row). They've had some success through massive lobbying of state legislatures. But their most direct way is through corrupt courts. Taking down the DOMA law is key to forcing the imposition of "gay marriage" throughout America despite the votes in those 32 states. But it's still a considerable legal challenge to do it all at once. So by successfully attacking this narrow part of the DOMA law -- federal benefits and income tax filing status -- the homosexual movement opens the door to sebsequently [sic] dismantling all the rest of it.
As long as homosexual behavior is not presented as abnormal, medically dangerous, and morally repugnant we will continue to lose. If other side is allowed to portray homosexuality as normal and natural (but something conservatives simply are "bigoted" about) in their legal arguments, they will always eventually prevail. We cannot concede those points and instead attempt to argue on the basis of "legal" reasoning, the historical "purpose" of marriage, or weak-kneed arguments such as "every child needs a mother and father." But unfortunately that is exactly what too many pro-family lawyers and pro-family spokesmen do. It's the "respectable" path. But it's cowardly, ineffective, and the road to hell (so to speak).
The next step is the US Supreme Court. Will they agree with this? We certainly hope not, but it's frighteningly possible.
Our side has a terribly bad record of winning these kinds of court cases -- for the reasons stated above. In the grand scheme of things, any legal argument on homosexual "marriage" is bordering on madness, because the concept itself is sheer lunacy. We need to start saying that. As George Orwell once said, "We have now sunk to a depth at which the restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men." Let's hope that the House of Representatives' legal team can find it in themselves to do the right thing.
Today, yet another court ruled that the Defense Of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional, this time finding that Section 3 of the law, which prevents the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages in states where they are legal, fails the “rational basis test” as applied to laws that deny equal protection and harm a group long subject to discrimination. The unanimous ruling by the three judge panel of the First Circuit Court of Appeals, including two Republican nominees, found no “connection between DOMA’s treatment of same-sex couples and its asserted goal of strengthening the bonds and benefits to society of heterosexual marriage.”
Bruce Hausknecht of Focus on the Family’s CitizenLink criticized the court’s “unfortunate exercise of judicial tampering with the rules by which constitutional cases are decided,” and the Alliance Defense Fund’s Dale Schowengerdt said the decision permits states to “hold the federal government, and potentially other states, hostage to redefine marriage.”
Remarkably, Massachusetts Family Institute president Kris Mineau claimed that the First Circuit Court of Appeals shouldn’t have any federal power to rule on the case as “a Massachusetts-based court “…seemingly unaware that it is a federal court!
Kris Mineau, president of the Massachusetts Family Institute, argued Thursday that the ruling is "bizarre" for requiring the federal government to accept Massachusetts' definition of marriage, and violates the federal government's right to determine the application of federal benefits.
"For a Massachusetts-based court to just audaciously proclaim that the federal government is wrong and has to recognize a unique social experiment in Massachusetts for the purpose of providing benefits is bizarre and a violation of the principles of our federalist system," Mineau said, according to Reuters.
Judson Phillips of Tea Party Nation told members today that marriage equality for gays and lesbians is part of the “east coast liberal freak show” bent on ruining America:
Whether we like it or not, because the liberal states have enacted homosexual marriage, sooner or later the Supreme Court is going to say those marriages must be recognized by all fifty states.
While there are many religious and moral arguments that can be made about this, the simple fact is for the last sixty years or so; the left has been attacking the basic family unit. The end result of this has been the creation of poverty where none existed before. It has been the creation of an under class, born and raised in poverty, unlikely to escape poverty and encouraged to engage in the same behaviors that landed their parents in poverty.
Given the left’s track record in this area, they should not even be allowed to offer an opinion much less pass laws as they are doing in some of the east coast liberal freak show states.
A federal appeals court in Boston today upheld a lower court ruling that called the key section of the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” unconstitutional. Section 3 of DOMA bans the federal government from recognizing legal marriages between people of the same sex, meaning that it willfully discriminates against a set of married people when it comes to Social Security benefits, joint-filing tax breaks, military spousal benefits and immigration. When DOMA was passed in 1996 no states allowed gay and lesbian couple to marry – its provisions were purely theoretical. Today, marriage equality exists in six states and the District of Columbia, and DOMA actively harms thousands of married Americans – 100,000 couples, according to the court.
In its decision concluding that DOMA violates the Constitution, the unanimous First Circuit panel – two out of three of whom were nominated by Republican presidents – was cautious. The panel said that under First Circuit precedent DOMA doesn’t trigger “heightened scrutiny” – a tougher standard for the federal government to meet. It also declined to address any arguments based on the premise that lesbians and gays have a constitutional right to marry (as opposed to having their existing marriages recognized by the federal government).
But the court was clear that Section 3 of DOMA does not meet the “rational basis” test for upholding a federal law that denies equal protection to a group long subject to discrimination – in other words, there’s just no good reason for DOMA to do the harm that it does.
The court looked at several justificiations offered for the law by DOMA’s supporters and found that each comes up short. Supporters say DOMA will save the federal government money (reports say that it actually costs the government money…and saving money isn’t a good enough reason for legal discrimination in the first place); that allowing lesbians and gays to marry harms children (it doesn’t, and Section 3 of DOMA doesn’t affect these couples’ rights to raise children anyway); and just plain moral disapproval (Supreme Court precedent says this isn’t enough of a reason). And finally, the court takes on the constant argument of opponents of same-sex marriage: that somehow gay couples getting married will harm the institution of marriage for everyone else:
Although the House Report is filled with encomia to heterosexual marriage, DOMA does not increase benefits to opposite-sex couples--whose marriages may in any event be childless, unstable or both--or explain how denying benefits to same-sex couples will reinforce heterosexual marriage. Certainly, the denial will not affect the gender choices of those seeking marriage. This is not merely a matter of poor fit of remedy to perceived problem, but a lack of any demonstrated connection between DOMA's treatment of same-sex couples and its asserted goal of strengthening the bonds and benefits to society of heterosexual marriage.
This is the crux of any number of court decisions that have struck down barriers to marriage equality. The main reason given for many laws that seek to deny marriage rights to gays and lesbians is that same-sex marriage will somehow weaken marriage for everybody else. It’s a claim that just doesn’t hold water.
The First Circuit panel did, however, go out of its way to defend DOMA’s supporters even while rejecting the law.
The District Court judge whose ruling the appeals court upheld declared that DOMA was motivated by “irrational prejudice” toward gays and lesbians. The First Circuit explicitly refuses to go there, instead stating that while that may have been true for some supporters, others were motivated instead by what it characterizes as the non-biased wish to “preserve the heritage of marriage as traditionally defined over centuries of Western civilization.” Under recent Supreme Court precedent, they write, the wish to uphold tradition isn’t a good enough one for denying equal protection. But the Supreme Court can change that if it wants:
In reaching our judgment, we do not rely upon the charge that DOMA's hidden but dominant purpose was hostility to homosexuality. The many legislators who supported DOMA acted from a variety of motives, one central and expressed aim being to preserve the heritage of marriage as traditionally defined over centuries of Western civilization. Preserving this institution is not the same as "mere moral disapproval of an excluded group," and that is singularly so in this case given the range of bipartisan support for the statute.
The opponents of section 3 point to selected comments from a few individual legislators; but the motives of a small group cannot taint a statute supported by large majorities in both Houses and signed by President Clinton. Traditions are the glue that holds society together, and many of our own traditions rest largely on belief and familiarity--not on benefits firmly provable in court. The desire to retain them is strong and can be honestly held. For 150 years, this desire to maintain tradition would alone have been justification enough for almost any statute. This judicial deference has a distinguished lineage, including such figures as Justice Holmes, the second Justice Harlan, and Judges Learned Hand and Henry Friendly. But Supreme Court decisions in the last fifty years call for closer scrutiny of government action touching upon minority group interests and of federal action in areas of traditional state concern.
Recognizing that the Supreme Court will likely review its reasoning, the court stayed the decision, so it will not go into effect yet.
A unanimous three-judge panel of the First Circuit Court of Appeals today upheld a lower-court ruling which held that Section 3 of the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional. The panel included two Republican appointees.
Michael Keegan, President of People For the American Way Foundation, issued the following statement:
“The First Circuit has reached the inevitable conclusion on DOMA: the arguments for such a discriminatory, hurtful law just don’t hold up. Over 16 years, DOMA has denied thousands of legally married Americans the protections and responsibilities granted to all other married couples under federal law. DOMA prevents married couples from providing for each other through Social Security; sponsoring each other for visas; helping each other with the tax benefits reserved for married couples; and prevents some service members and veterans from having their marriages recognized by the military. DOMA marginalizes a group of Americans, declares them inferior, and denies them rights granted to all others.
“ DOMA has caused real harm to Americans. A law that discriminates against a class of people just for the sake of discrimination is contrary to our principles and contrary to our laws.”
In advance of a court case on the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and amid calls to repeal the discriminatory law, the Family Research Council today sent an appeal to members urging them to tell Congress that a repeal of DOMA would present a “grave threat” to the family and religious liberty. In an email to members, FRC president Tony Perkins lamented that the Obama administration has already “forced open homosexuality upon the military” and provided “taxpayer-funded marriage benefits to same-sex couples.”
Few were shocked by the recent announcement of President Obama's "evolved" support for redefining marriage. His words have finally followed his actions - or his inaction when it comes to marriage policy. In less than four years, the Obama Administration has forced open homosexuality upon the Armed Forces, opposed state marriage amendments, refused to do its constitutional duty to defend the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DoMA), and awarded taxpayer-funded marriage benefits to same-sex couples.
Now some in Congress are seeking to repeal DoMA - an act that would endanger the marriage laws in 44 states that currently define marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
There are those who hope you will step aside and allow this God-given institution to be redefined. We cannot allow the DoMA law to be repealed. Please sign our Stand for Marriage petition, and join us in showing Congress and President Obama that marriage is worth standing for.
Given that the family consisting of marriage between one man and one woman is the foundation of civil society, I urge Congress and President Obama to uphold and defend the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DoMA), which defines marriage for the federal government and affirms the rights of states to protect the institution of marriage. President Obama's cynical endorsement of same-sex "marriage," along with his failure to do his constitutional duty to enforce and defend federal law in relation to marriage, combined with the plans of some in Congress seeking to overturn DoMA - is a grave threat not only to the well-being of the family, but to the religious liberty of countless Americans who do not wish to be forced to embrace a counterfeit version of marriage.
Last week we reported that the Family Research Council asked members to pray against “homosexual tyranny” in America after the federal government agreed to have Blue Cross Blue Shield offer full benefits for a same-sex spouse of a federal employee after a judge ruled in favor of the employee in her lawsuit against the Defense of Marriage Act. Naturally, Americans For Truth About Homosexuality president Peter LaBarbera is demanding that Congress impeach President Obama as a result of his administration’s decision to grant her health benefits:
"This is another shocking act by the Obama administration, which has got to be the most arrogant and Constitution-abusing president in America's history," he decides. "The Obama administration didn't like the Defense of Marriage Act, which was passed by Congress [and] signed into law by then-President Clinton, and so now they're just ignoring it and blatantly disregarding it."
This particular case, however, is not over, as Republicans have appealed the district court's decision, which has no effect on enrollments requested by other same-sex couples. Even though the law is being challenged in court, LaBarbera says it is still the law.
"I believe that President Obama should be impeached on this alone," he suggests. "He's not dictator of the United States of America; he's president, and he can't just ignore the law, ignore the Constitution, to pander to his homosexual activist base."
On Meet the Press yesterday, David Gregory questioned GOP presidential frontrunner Rick Santorum about the social issues – opposition to reproductive choice and gay rights – on which he has built his career. Stunningly, Santorum denied that he has focused on social issues and claimed, “There’s no evidence at all that I, that I want to impose those values on anybody else.”
FMR. SEN. SANTORUM: It's so funny. I get the question all the time. Why are you talking so much about these social issues, as they, as, as people ask about me about the social issues. MR. GREGORY: Senator, no, wait a minute.
FMR. SEN. SANTORUM: Look, the... MR. GREGORY: You talk about this stuff every week. And by the way, it's not just in this campaign. FMR. SEN. SANTORUM: No, I talk about, I talk... MR. GREGORY: Sir, in this campaign you talk about it. And I've gone back years when you've been in public life and you have made this a centerpiece of your public life. So the notion that these are not deeply held views worthy of question and scrutiny, it's not just about the press. FMR. SEN. SANTORUM: Yeah, they, they are deeply held views, but they're not what I dominantly talk about, David. You're taking things that over a course of a 20-year career and pulling out quotes from difference speeches on, on issues that are fairly tangential, not what people care about mostly in America, and saying, "Oh, he wants to impose those values." Look at my record. I've never wanted to impose any of the things that you've just talked about. These are, these are my personal held religious beliefs, and in many forums that I, that, that are, in fact, religious, because I do speak in front of church groups and I do speak in these areas, I do talk about them. But there's no evidence at all that I, that I want to impose those values on anybody else.
This is, of course, a bunch of baloney. While Santorum has spent a lot of time in his presidential campaign talking up regressive tax policies, irresponsible deregulation and anti-environmentalism, the core of his brand has always been social conservatism. His campaign has consistently and explicitly distinguished his anti-choice, anti-gay record with Mitt Romney’s in order to successfully appeal to culture-warring voters.
Santorum has also never shied away from wanting to “impose” his far-right values on the rest of the country. In a 2005 interview with NPR, for instance, he railed against the libertarian wing of the Republican party, saying, “They have this idea that people should be left alone, be able to do whatever they want to do. Government should keep our taxes down and keep our regulation low and that we shouldn't get involved in the bedroom, we shouldn't get involved in cultural issues, you know, people should do whatever they want. Well, that is not how traditional conservatives view the world.”
Santorum’s interview on Meet the Press is far from the first time he’s claimed that he’s not overly interested in social issues. PFAW’s Right Wing Watch found a speech he gave in 2008 in which he claimed that it’s liberals who have made sex an issue on the campaign trail. For liberals, he said, politics “comes down to sex” and that the Democratic Party has become “the party of Woodstock.”:
And it’s just insidious. And it’s most of the time focused on the sexual issues. If you’re a hard-core free-market guy, they’re not going to call you “zealous”. They’re not going to call you “ultra-conservative”. They’re not going to do that to you.
It comes down to sex. That’s what it’s all about. It comes down to freedom, and it comes down to sex. If you have anything to with any of the sexual issues, and if you are on the wrong side of being able to do all of the sexual freedoms you want, you are a bad guy. And you’re dangerous because you are going to limit my freedom in an area that’s the most central to me. And that’s the way it’s looked at.
Woodstock is the great American orgy. This is who the Democratic Party has become. They have become the party of Woodstock. The prey upon our most basic primal lusts, and that’s sex. And the whole abortion culture, it’s not about life. It’s about sexual freedom. That’s what it’s about. Homosexuality. It’s about sexual freedom.
All of the things are about sexual freedom, and they hate to be called on them. They try to somehow or other tie this to the Founding Father’s vision of liberty, which is bizarre. It’s ridiculous.
Last week federal judge Jeffrey White ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional because it violates the equal protection clause, representing a stinging rebuke to the House Republicans’ efforts to defend the law through the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG). The Religious Right once hailed BLAG as a savior of the anti-gay law, arguing that the only reason judges were chipping away at DOMA was because of the poor arguments of the Justice Department. But White found that DOMA doesn’t pass constitutional muster under either a heightened scrutiny measure or the less stringent rational basis test.
Notably, former President George W. Bush nominated Judge White and the Senate confirmed him in a voice vote.
But even though he was nominated by a Republican and was unanimously confirmed by the Senate without Republican opposition, Religious Right activists are now accusing him of being an activist judge.
Gordon Klingenschmitt urged people to pray that God will “defeat and overturn the bad ruling by activist U.S. Federal Judge Jeffrey S. White” and that Congress will impeach him:
Let us pray. Almighty God, we pray You defeat and overturn the bad ruling by activist U.S. Federal Judge Jeffrey S. White in San Francisco, who ruled America’s founding fathers embraced sodomy and protected homosexual ‘marriage’ somehow in the U.S. Constitution, and therefore he struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, a 1996 federal law signed by President Clinton, that defined marriage as only valid between one man and one woman. We pray Congress impeaches Judge White, from Proverbs 19:25, “Strike a scoffer and the naive may become shrewd.” In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Liberty Counsel chairman Mat Staver blamed the Obama administration for the ruling as part of their plan to “sabotage” marriage, and called the judge’s ruling “absolutely ridiculous”:
"This is another outrageous example of the Obama administration abandoning the defense of the Defense of Marriage Act, simply trying to sabotage marriage as the union of one man and one woman and pushing a radical homosexual agenda," Staver contends.
"I think that it's absolutely ridiculous to say that there's no rational or even debatable or logical reason for the Defense of Marriage Act, to say that you cannot have same-sex unions," Staver offers. "And in this particular case, the court did the wrong thing by ultimately finding that the Defense of Marriage Act as applied in this case was unconstitutional."
Given the Obama administration's direct war on marriage, whether through attacking military chaplains' rights of conscience or refusing to defend DOMA, it's pretty clear which side he is on. Obama can't afford to come out of the proverbial closet though... for fear of losing an election.
America's moral virtue runs pretty deep. Despite the best efforts of this liberal government to affect that, the heavy hand of the Obama administration is no match for the Judeo-Christian values that inform the consciences of millions.
...which is why Obama is attempting to impose upon our rights.
The Senate is currently tied up by Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who has blocked action on a major transportation bill and the confirmation of an urgent judicial nomination. While it’s stalled, the Senate has the perfect opportunity to take up a Valentine’s Day-appropriate bill: the Respect for Marriage Act.
The Respect For Marriage Act, introduced in the Senate by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, would repeal the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act,” which requires the federal government to discriminate against same-sex married couples. DOMA makes a lot of things harder for gay and lesbian married couples – including the denial of military spousal benefits to married gay and lesbian members of the armed forces and the denial of Social Security benefits to the same-sex spouse of a deceased person.
DOMA also tears married couples apart. U.S. citizens married to someone of the same sex can’t sponsor their spouses for citizenship – leading to heartbreaking separations. The Huffington Post interviewed one such couple, U.S. citizen Kelli Ryan and her wife Lucy Truman, a British citizen, who are publicly petitioning the government for a green card for Truman:
"We really simply want to be treated fairly and equally," Ryan, who was born in the United States, said on a call with reporters Thursday. "I feel as an American citizen that I should be able to have the same rights as all other American citizens and I should not be forced to choose between my country and my family."