Any time now, perhaps even as you read this, we may be seeing the last gasps of the Defense of Marriage Act (or DOMA). Earlier this week, President Obama issued an official statement in support of the Respect for Marriage Act (PDF), which would dismantle DOMA and recognize unions in states where same-sex marriages are legal. Of course, we’ve been burned by the promise of change before. So, I remain cautiously optimistic.
Even the language of the president’s statement fills me with hope that if not now, soon, the ideas of treating anyone in the LGBTQ community as second-class citizens will be put in the past in favor of equality for all:
President Obama is proud to support the Respect for Marriage Act, which which [sic] has been introduced by Senator Dianne Feinstein and Congressman Jerrold Nadler. This legislation would uphold the principle that the federal government should not deny gay and lesbian couples the same rights and legal protections as straight couples.
The President has long called for a legislative repeal of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which continues to have a real impact on the lives of real people — our families, friends and neighbors.
Thank you President Obama!
It makes me sick that in 2011 we still can’t recognize the commitment of couples who are of the same sex. What is so damn threatening about gays? Or gays and lesbians wanting to marry? … Scratch that. Let’s not even go there. Because anything anyone might say to me to defend DOMA and the “logic” behind it, well, I don’t have time for it.
Here are some facts about DOMA and the Respect for Marriage Act.
And here’s what I know:
- Last month I celebrated my 14th wedding anniversary. My wedding was a joyful occasion and celebration of the love my husband and I share. It’s bullshit that my best friend was not afforded the same level of celebration when he got married to his partner four years ago. It’s bullshit that his wedding had to be considered “special” because it was not quite legal and that his union and his love is not equally validated by society and the law, as mine is.
- Just this past Sunday I shared cake with a couple at my church who are celebrating 21 years together. In the span of their relationship they have gone from speak-easy coffee shop meetings in the basement of a church, necessitated out of the fear that still resonated years after Stonewall, to publicly celebrating their union and family they share while raising their two daughters. I can say unequivocally that their domestic partnership of two women is just as valid and equal to my partnership with my husband. Their almost-but-not-quite-equal union does not threaten the sanctity of my marriage in any way. And in fact, committed, respectful unions do more to strengthen the power of marriage as an institution than to tear it down in any way.
- Indeed, the whimsical way that some in Hollywood treat marriage does a lot more harm to the institution than anyone in the LGBT community. It’s almost like a competition for the shortest! Six hours (Rudolph Valentino and Jean Acker in 1919). 55 hours (Britney Spears). Eight days (Dennis Hopper and Michelle Phillips). … the list goes on!
- More importantly: More Americans than ever before support marriage rights for same-sex couples.
- Same-sex marriage is legal in at least eight other countries including South Africa, Canada, and Sweden.