There are so many things that the GLBT population has to worry about; job, housing and adoption discrimination to name a few. Only 21 states plus Washington DC provide protections for its U.S. citizens based on sexual orientation. Only 21. Some states would rather see children be raised in sub-par foster situations then allow them to be adopted by a long-term stable gay couple. It’s wrong.
Why is it then that gay marriage is such a hot button for this country when so many other rights and protections are not provided? I think it’s about the emotional reaction it brings out in us. How dare the heterosexual majority tell us who we can marry? Straight men and women marry every day for reasons that don’t pass the straight face test; Immigration issues, a few too many drinks in Las Vegas and the tick-tock of that biological clock to name a few. Yet, Joan and Sally, who have been together for 27 years and share a house, the bills and the raising of Joan’s children, are not able to legally declare their love and commitment to each other and receive the government benefits afforded to their straight neighbors.
There are 1,138 Federal Laws that do not apply to same-sex couples. Debbie and Linda have been paying taxes and living together since they were 18 years old. After 30 years together, if Linda dies, Debbie does not have the right to collect one penny from Linda’s Social Security. If Linda becomes ill and unable to speak, unless they have had legal documents drawn up in advance, Debbie will not be able to make life and death decisions for her partner of 30 years. Instead, her aunt Mildred who is her distant “relative” will be able to make that decision without any input from Debbie. These are just two examples, but they are two examples that make me angry. Unfair? Hell yes.
Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA is a major roadblock in our fight for equal marriage rights. It basically means that the fight has to happen in each individual state versus at the Federal Government level and then being applicable to all states. Can DOMA be repealed? Yes, by either Congress or the Supreme Court. So…keep up the pressure and keep up the conversations with neighbors, co-workers and anyone who can vote.
Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can’t ride you unless your back is bent. ~Martin Luther King Jr.