09 Jul The current status of the same-sex marriage battle
There are new disturbing developments within New England and Washington, D.C. and a new battleground has opened up in the state of New York. The current administration has made bold moves in direct defiance of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), and a new development has begun in contravention of California’s recent state Supreme Court victory.
The majority of New England has recently shifted towards supporting homosexual marriage. With Massachusetts and Connecticut having already legalized the practice, the legislatures of Vermont, Maine, and New Hampshire recently also passed bills permitting the same thing. This leaves Rhode Island as the final state within that region that does not allow for the practice, although it does agree to recognition of same-sex marriages legally performed elsewhere.
We are delighted that Stand for Marriage Maine announced that they have collected more than the 55,087 signatures needed to place a People’s Veto on the November ballot. With the collection of these signatures, it is proof that there are still many who want to restore marriage to its tradition al roots between an man and a woman.
In the nation’s capital, the city council voted on April 7th to recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere. Upset by the council’s decision without any public input, a coalition of individuals, including many African-American ministers, filed a referendum questioning the decision. Though the referendum was defeated, the group supporting traditional marriage plans to file an appeal with the D.C. Superior Court. In addition a Republican-led group of lawmakers also introduced a bill in the House that seeks to define marriage in the District of Columbia exclusively between a man and a woman.
In the meantime, the White House’s actions surrounding same-sex marriage have been appalling. Beyond just declaring June 2009 as Gay Rights Month, President Obama further violated the intent of the federal Defense of Marriage Act by extending full benefits to all domestic partners of federal employees. Seeking to assuage a vocal group of constituents, federal tax dollars have been misused, said Wendy Wright, president of the conservative Concerned Women for America:
“Barack Obama’s order demeans marriage and misuses taxpayer dollars. It violates the intent of the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines for the federal government that marriage (and thus all the benefits that come with marriage) is only between a man and a woman,” said Wright. “It generates untold costs and creates an incentive for fraud. Workers could claim anyone of the same sex is a ‘partner’ or seek coverage for multiple serial partners.”
Similar efforts have been made by other Democrats in the House, who have introduced a bill entitled the Reuniting Families Act. It blatantly redefines immigration policy by allowing for same-sex partners to be defined as “immediate family” for the purposes of reuniting in the United States. Without a marriage certificate, verifying the legitimacy of same-sex partnerships would be difficult.
In May, the New York State Assembly voted by a majority to legalize same-sex marriage. Since that time, however, there has been great infighting amongst the Republican and Democrat members of the Assembly that have resulted in a gridlock of many forms of legislation, leaving the same-sex marriage result at a standstill. More news from this state on this particular issue is likely to emerge in the near future as their state legislature works to resolve its leadership disputes.
On the west coast the battle over the California Supreme Court’s decision continues as a new case has been filed against the State of California in the hopes that the case will eventually reach the U.S. Supreme Court. Initiated by a surprising new ally of the gay rights movement, former solicitor general Theodore Olson has filed a federal case against the state of California’s Proposition 8 in the hopes of it reaching the U.S. Supreme Court. Olson has long been an attorney associated with representing conservative causes, and surprised many with this recent move. Though the outcome of the current Supreme Court’s justices on this issue is relatively uncertain, Olson’s case, entitled Perry v. Schwarzenegger, 09-CV-2292, argues that gay people are being denied their rights under the Constitution’s due process and equal-protection clauses. In character with the unbelievable power of the U.S. Supreme Court, should it choose to consider the case, all of the respective statewide battlegrounds outcomes could become irrelevant.
Voters in each state where marriage has been re-defined or where the battle rages on have been ignored by policy makers and activists. The will of the people continues to be trampled under by those that have no respect for our nation’s way of governing. It is time to make your voices heard by contacting your elected officials and even the U.S. Supreme Court. Tell them that the people deserve to be heard!
In some states, referenda and initiatives are a possible alternative. Also, getting involved in the next election today is an integral way to make your voice known. The future of the family depends on you.
Most important, support organizations that support and advocate for the family. Without the needed financial donations, we cannot continue to inform, educate and be there to make a difference.