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.
Unless the Defense of Marriage Act is repealed, the Pentagon cannot recognize same-sex marriages regardless of if they are legal in some states.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.