First marriage, then defeating DOMA

I’m excited about the same-sex couples in California that can marry, as I was excited for those in Massachusetts. While we don’t have legal same-sex marriage in the District of Columbia, our domestic partnership laws really pretty good, so that gives me hope that D.C. might recognize a foreign marriage, if not pass an equitable marriage law itself. (Recall, we don’t have final say in our own affairs here: Congress does.)

The problem is that the most significant rights associated with marriage are tied up with federal law, and so long as the ill-named Defense of Marriage Act is the law, no same-sex couple (married or not)
has a legally full union. (Whenever Sen. Clinton spoke of her years of experience in the White House, I remembered the Defense of Marriage Act was signed by her husband. Kthanks. Bye.)

It does hurt. I’m worried about Hubby and my future. Even as we look to buy an apartment, I worry about our future finances. We’ve had a taste of it before. I was once on his medical insurance, but the value of the benefit was taxable income to him because I wasn’t his legal spouse. Inequal treatment is insulting, but it hurst more when you see a tangible cost associated.

Meg Riley, a ministerial colleague writing yesterday at Inspired Faith, Effective Action, paints her and her partner’s situation with clear light. About the inherent inequity as it hits their finances, she writes:

Likewise, she is ineligible for SSI, the social security benefits which she could get if she were single, because I am supporting her. Yet, should I die tomorrow, she would not receive a cent of my survivor benefits because we are legally single.

So first marriage, then we need to repeal DOMA, especially the third section which reads

In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the United States, the word ‘marriage’ means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word ‘spouse’ refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.

And either the big LGBT groups — looking at you Human Rights Campaign — will start opposing DOMA plainly, or we’ll know youl have nothing for us to hear.


To think, Hubby and I could be getting married in California about now.

But would our marriage be recognized back in the District of Columbia? I think that needs to be addressed. Or perhaps not addressed, but forced.

I’ll buy the argument that nothing substantive will be done until the next Congress, but the time to act towards January is now.

Hurrah, California!

Just got back from a lunch with Fr. Chris Tessone (Even the Devils Believe) — with whom else can I talk about LaTeX and typesetting Gregorian chant? — to discover that the California Supreme Court has overturned the ban on same-sex marriage and without punting it back to the legislature. The same legislature you’ll recall that passed a same-sex marriage bill twice only to die at the Governor’s veto.

I’m very excited.

I’m also reminded that there’s a secret District of Columbia attorney general opinion on whether out-of-state same-sex marriage would be recognized here. This new development, plus the promise of an even larger Democratic House majority in the fall, makes it politically as safe as can be for D.C. to step up and support a significant constituency: same-sex couples.