Repealing DOMA: a good first step against the injustice of Prop 8

All you Prop 8 apologists have been saying it all these weeks, we’ll see soon if you really mean it:  Even though “marriage” to you is something sacred that can only be between a man and a woman or it will be ruined for everybody, you all still claim to support “domestic partnership with the same exact rights as marriage.” From Larry Gilbert to commenters like “cook,” “junior,” and “Mary/Erika” you repeat this blithely, either serenely unaware that there are numerous rights domestic partners don’t enjoy, or with complete disingenuousness assuming nobody will know the difference.

Well, the fact is, as Glennzilla reminded us Thursday, our gay brothers and sisters in civil unions are denied “a whole array of crucial marriage-based tax, pension, visitation, inheritance and legal standing rights granted to opposite-sex couples.” And this is largely thanks to DOMA, the horribly unjust “Defense of Marriage Act” which was signed into law in 1996 by a cravenly “triangulating” Bill Clinton (burned by his earlier support for gays in the military and under constant attack from Republicans in Congress and elsewhere.)

Glenn elaborates on one particularly egregious example:

…if an American citizen marries a foreign national of the opposite sex (an increasingly common occurrence), then, under U.S. immigration law, the foreign spouse is entitled, more or less automatically, to receive a Green Card and, if desired, U.S. citizenship, so that American citizens can live in the U.S. together with their spouse.

But if an American citizen marries a foreign national of the same sex, then DOMA bars the INS from recognizing the marriage as a basis for granting immigration rights.  As a result of DOMA, American citizens are put in the hideous predicament of having to choose either to (a) live apart from their spouse or (b) live outside their own country.  The U.S. now stands virtually alone in the Western World in imposing such a cruel dilemma on its citizens (worse still, many U.S. citizens have same-sex spouses from countries where the U.S. citizen cannot live, due to lack of resources or opportunities or because that country also refuses to grant immigration rights to same-sex couples; in those cases, DOMA means that Americans are forced, with no choice, to live apart — oceans apart — from their spouse).

The good news is our new President, although he’s been wishy-washy on the topic of gay marriage itself, has been emphatically and outspokenly against DOMA since it was passed twelve years ago, has repeated this during the campaign, and still won by a landslide.  Meanwhile our new Vice-President, although he did vote with the majority twelve years ago, was crystal-clear during the debate with Gov. Palin:

…Look, in an Obama-Biden administration, there will be absolutely no distinction from a constitutional standpoint or a legal standpoint between a same-sex and a heterosexual couple. . . . It’s what the Constitution calls for. And so we do support it. We do support making sure that committed couples in a same-sex marriage are guaranteed the same constitutional benefits as it relates to their property rights, their rights of visitation, their rights to insurance, their rights of ownership as heterosexual couples do. . . . there should be no civil rights distinction, none whatsoever, between a committed gay couple and a committed heterosexual couple.

And Glenn’s call for a repeal early on by the newly energized Democratic Congress, while pooh-poohed by the usual zombies, wimps and bigots as the the usual “extremist Glenn pushing the Democrats toward political suicide” has now been joined by the ultimate DC insiders, the Washington Post editorial page.

It’s still grievously unjust to tell any group of Americans they can’t get married while the rest of us can, but if you pro-Prop 8 OJ bloggers and commenters are serious about backing equality then I expect you to support the repeal of DOMA some time early next year!


About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist/composer in Orange County, and official troubador of both Anaheim and Huntington Beach (the two ends of the Santa Ana Aquifer.) Performs regularly both solo, and with his savage-jazz quintet The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at vernpnelson@gmail.com, or 714-235-VERN.