There are politics to maneuver in every marriage– from navigating in-laws to deciding on which parent animal you should model yourself after (tiger or panda?). The ups and downs are numerous and never-ending once you take that trip down the aisle.
However, for hundreds of thousands of LGBT adults, getting down the aisle to exchange vows with the person they love is like navigating a political “mind” field. Hopefully sometime soon however the aisle will be the easy part…
15 years after the reprehensible “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA) was signed into law, the Senate Judiciary committee chaired by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) held the first ever hearing on the Respect for Marriage Act, legislation that seeks to repeal DOMA.
Written into law in 1996 by President Bill Clinton, DOMA, has two key discriminatory concepts: first, for federal purposes, the word “marriage” would mean only a legal union between one man and one woman; and second, no state had to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex that had been performed in any other state or jurisdiction.
What does all that mean you wonder?? Well it means that the Feds–regardless of your state or district marriage laws, get to view your commitment to your same-sex partner as invisible under the law.
So, although my marriage certificate hangs prominently in the entry way of my D.C. apartment…my wife and I get to play the “marriage rights merri-go-round” as we loop around the metro area daily between MD (which recently lost a marriage equality push), VA (no explanation needed) and the District!
The “Respect for Marriage Act” however, would let the feds return to their traditional practice of recognizing any state’s marriages — which would include same-sex marriages made in the six states (and district of Columbia) that currently perform them! That is the role of the Feds–to enforce the laws of the states.
This week’s hearing and this Sunday’s enforcement of the New York equality law give us hope that soon we will have two certificates hanging in our entry way…our first recognized by the District and the second recognized by the nation!
Tell us what you’re doing to ensure that equality unfolds throughout your town and our nation!
“Never doubt that small group of thoughtful people can change the world–indeed it’s the only thing that ever has”- Margret Mead