Wednesday, March 27, 2013

This is NOT equality!

I was so impressed and in many cases pleasantly surprised to see such an overwhelming show of support for marriage equality on Facebook the past couple days.  A HUGE percentage of the profile picture on my news-feed were changed to this equal sign symbolizing equality for all in marriage.  Childhood friends, coworkers, acquaintances from high school and college and even (and this made me SO happy) many of my most religious friends.  At least in my Facebook world, this seems to be a topic that transcends political party, religious affiliation, gender, sexual orientation and age!  That's a GREAT sign!

The Supreme Court is in the process of deciding whether to overturn or uphold California's ban on gay marriage.  That's what all this gay marriage/marriage equality/protect marriage talk is about in case you didn't know.

"Prop 8," as it was called, passed when voted on by the voters of California in the November 2008 elections.  Prop 8 was added as an amendment to the California Constitution and reads as follows under California Constitution: Declaration of Rights, Article 1:

"SEC. 7.5. Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or
recognized in California."

Honestly, I was embarrassed and ashamed not to mention shocked my home state failed to make marriage between consenting adults of any orientation legal.  I get that the result was "the voice of the people" and part of democracy is allowing the people to vote on topics, but you know what....people can be assholes and people can be idiots.  I'm willing to bet there would have been (and likely were) equally as discriminatory majority opinions 60 years ago about desegregation.  Just because something is believed by the majority doesn't make it right.


Many people seem to be under the impression gay couples already have the same rights straight couples do, but this simply isn't the case particularly when it comes to federal law.  For example, thanks to the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996 that states:

"No State, territory, or possession of the United States, or Indian tribe, shall be required to give effect to any public act, record, or judicial proceeding of any other State, territory, possession, or tribe respecting a relationship between persons of the same sex that is treated as a marriage under the laws of such other State, territory, possession, or tribe, or a right or claim arising from such relationship."

former congressman Gerry E. Studds' (D-Mass) spouse was not allowed to collect his annual pension after Gerry's death.  Here is were it gets extra insulting....according to Peter Graves of the office that administers the congressional pension program...

"Under federal law, pensions can only be denied to lawmakers' same-sex partners and to people convicted espionage or treason."
Are you freaking kidding me?!?!?!?  You can read more about this case here.  


This military couple were told to leave a military retreat to help military husbands and wives from deal with the stress of deployments and relocations.  The Defense of Marriage Act only allows the retreat to be utilized by heterosexual married couples.

This military spouse was denied access into the base's club for officers' spouses because she doesn't have a military ID...something she's not eligible to receive because her 15 year relationship and legal Washington D.C. marriage is not recognized by federal law.

Only last month, the Department of Defense expanded SOME benefits to same-sex partners of military members as can be read in this memo.  

Unless the Defense of Marriage Act is repealed, the Pentagon cannot recognize same-sex marriages regardless of if they are legal in some states.   This is the case for ALL government employees with same-sex partners.  The same-sex partners of postal workers, military, elected officials, etc. are not recognized as spouses and therefore not eligible for health insurance, military IDs for base access, access to counseling programs or pension plans regardless of if their marriage is legal in their state.


Even is all 50 states voted independently to legalize gay marriage, those marriages, those spouses and those families would not be recognized in the same manner their heterosexual counterparts are by the federal government.  Even though the states are voting individually and ratifying their individual state constitutions, THIS IS A FEDERAL ISSUE!  

United States citizens are being treated differently in the eyes of the government based on their sexual orientation.  Substitute "gay" with "black" or "down syndrome" or "Asian."  This type of discrimination is not acceptable based on gender, race, religion, ethnicity or age and it isn't acceptable based on who someone falls in love with either!

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