It’s A Start

This morning, the Supreme Court released it’s ruling on the recently heard challenge to the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), and they ruled, in a 5-4 decision, that it was un-Constitutional.  That’s a start in paving the way for marriage equality.

I don’t know that anybody specifically said it or wrote it, but in the lead up to the oral arguments back in March and to today’s ruling, you would think that the end of the world would have quickly followed.  Like the Mayan prophecy from last December, that is not the case.

By striking down DOMA, the Supreme Court has ruled that same-sex couples who are married should be entitled to the same federal benefits as my wife and I are.  You know, like being able to file a joint tax return or an exemption from the estate tax when one spouse dies (such a case was at the foundation to the challenge to DOMA that the Supreme Court ruled on today).

From the ruling:

“DOMA instructs all federal officials, and indeed all persons with whom same-sex couples interact, including their own children, that their marriage is less worthy than the marriages of others.  The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and to injure those whom the State, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity.”

For anyone to claim that the marriage of a same-sex couple is somehow less worthy than that of a heterosexual couple is asinine and absurd, and I applaud the Supreme Court for ruling as such.  I have written on here numerous times in the past that to define marriage in religious terms, as so many seek to do, is not in line with the fabric of our country.  It bears repeating that no marriage not performed in a church by a pastor/preacher/priest/clergy is invalid by any means; I have been fortunate enough to have been asked by three couples to perform their wedding, and their marriage is as real and legal as mine, even though I performed the ceremony as a notary.

Whether or not today’s ruling will ultimately lead to marriage equality across the country remains to be seen (the ruling affects only the states plus the District of Columbia where same-sex marriage is already legal), but I hope that it does.  I see no sound reason as to why a same-sex couple from Florida should have to go to Massachusetts (or some other state where same-sex marriage is recognized) in order to become legally married.  It makes no sense.  I also reject the argument that marriage is a “religious institution” for a lot of reasons, including what I wrote in the paragraph above about who can perform a ceremony, in addition to the fact that the laws of our country are not based on any one religion (nor should they be).  If you are someone who is that bothered by same-sex marriage, do not marry someone who is the same sex as you.  That is the simplest answer I can come up with.  And also, spare me the argument that same-sex marriage “erodes the foundation of the family,” because if today’s ruling destroys your family unit, you have bigger issues than same-sex marriage.  Same-sex marriage will not affect the foundation of my family; I will go home to my wife and daughter tonight, and we will still love each other the same.

Kudos to the Supreme Court in issuing today’s ruling.  My sincere hope is that the states that remain where same-sex marriage is not recognized will go ahead and join us in the 21st century soon.

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