The Fall of (part of) DOMA and Prop 8
Hello everyone! I know I haven’t blogged in a long time, but what kind of American lesbian would I be if I didn’t talk about yesterdays monumental decision by the Supreme Court?
For those of you who don’t know anything about this, yesterday the SCOTUS (our highest court of all you non-Americans out there) let us know the decision of two cases they had before them: DOMA and Prop 8. Prior to yesterday the Defense of Marriage Act or DOMA, stated that only heterosexual couples who were legally married could have access to Federal benefits. This means same-sex couples could not file their taxes together on the federal level, not get survivor benefits, family leave benefits or social security benefits – among a ton of other things. What that meant for my family is that even though D and I have been legally married for 8 years, every year we have had to file several tax returns, and claim to be “single” on any federal paperwork. Do you have any idea how frustrating that is? I had to file as married in the state of Vermont, and then single for the federal government. In order to do this, I also had to file a “dummy” federal return that used a married status to make my Vermont taxes correct. We were/are both still taxed at the higher “single rate” as well. Don’t even get me started on what would have happened had one of us died! UGH! So, in yesterday’s ruling, the SCOTUS ruled that part of DOMA unconstitutional, effectively giving myself and countless other same-sex couples thousands of rights we have been denied.
The kicker here is that what they didn’t do. They didn’t make it unconstitutional for same-sex couples to be denied marriage – they left that to the states themselves. This is important because as of now, if you live in a state where it is legal to marry someone of the same-sex, you win! If you don’t live there – even if you got married in a state that does legally recognize you – you get nothin’. At least yet. Many analysts say that this ruling will open everything up for more cases, and that within as little as 5 years, they project every state will have to recognize same-sex marriage – therefore giving everyone the rights they deserve. I can only hope that this will happen. If I was the praying type, I’d pray for it – but I’m not – so I’ll just send out positive vibes instead 😉
The other thing that happened was that they cut down Prop 8 with (hopefully) the final thud. Back in 2008, California passed a law that 2 people of the same sex could marry. Soon after that, the anti-gay religious right made it their mission to outlaw it. They put on a massive campaign of confusion – and many people voted to outlaw it, thinking they were voting to keep it. Obviously the proposition passed (Prop 8) and California once again did not allow same-sex couples to marry. Think of what that meant to all the people who actually got married between June and November of 2008? Imagine marrying the love of your life, and then be told it meant basically nothing. It’s a shame and a travesty and should never have happened in the first place! These are HUMAN BEINGS. If you cut them, do they not bleed? It’s like saying to someone “here, have some cake.” That person gets so excited to be offered the cake, and then you say, “oh, I’m sorry – that cake is only for heterosexuals. You either need to change or no cake for you!”
Prop 8 was initially overturned in 2010, but there were appeals made, and so therefore nothing happened again until 2012 when a Ninth Circuit Court of appeals heard arguments and decided that it was true that Prop 8 was unconstitutional. Supporters of the proposition then took it’s case to the Supreme Court of the United States. The SCOTUS decided that the people supporting Prop 8 had no grounds to bring the case there, and sent it back to the lower court to finally dismiss the case. This means that Californians are now, once again, granted the right to marry whomever they are in love with, regardless of sex. This was a HUGE victory! I am so happy for all of them! But, while we made some great strides yesterday, we still have a long way to go.
Needless to say that I believe all people, no matter who they love, should be able to marry. They should be afforded the rights and protections that, up until now, only heterosexuals could enjoy. I think not enough straight people think about this. I think that a lot of people not directly tied to this issue don’t realize all of the things same-sex couples are denied. Did you know that if I lived in a state not recognized and I died, D would have to pay a shit-ton of taxes to inherit our house? How about the fact that in a lot of states you can still be denied visitation to your sick spouse if they are hospitalized? Or denied the right to make serious medical decisions on their behalf? What about the seriously preposterous idea that you can still get fired from your job simply for being GLBT?????
This is 2013 people! WAKE THE FUCK UP! We are all PEOPLE. You are not better than me just because you are straight, or because your bible tells you you are! I don’t want to fuck a sheep or a dog or a cat! I only want to be able to be married to one person, and get the same rights as you.
You and I are a lot more alike than you care to admit. If you knew me, if you knew my family, you would change your mind about us. You would see that you can’t change me – but more importantly that you don’t need to. I am wonderful. Just the way that I am.