On this program, which you can hear when you click the arrow above, Janet Kira and Dr. Sasha Lessin discuss the defeat of the Republicans’ Defense of Marriage Act, (DOMA). We hope this defeat of the religious right’s attempt to cram their values down all of our throats will pave the path to a federal Freedom to Marry act that not only allows people to marry irregardless of gender, but also lets them marry irregardless of the number of people in the marriage.
DOMA prevented same-sex couples whose marriages are recognized by their home state from receiving the hundreds of benefits available to other married couples under federal law. The President who signed this odious act recanted and urged its overturn.
Of all the many ways in which DOMA harmed same-sex couples and their families, immigration was surely one of the cruelest. DOMA placed a dark cloud over same-sex binational couples, forcing them to live in fear of separation. U.S. citizens, in order to stay together with a foreign same-sex spouse or partner, were often forced to choose between the person they love or their country. Now 28,500 same-sex binational couples across the country, rather than coping with another day of worry and uncertainty, are able to rest in the comfort in knowing that the love and commitment they have pledged to each other will not be threatened by a discriminatory law.
The Defense of Marriage Act, the law barring the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages legalized by the states, is unconstitutional, the Supreme Court ruled Wednesday by a 5-4 vote. The court struct down California’s Proposition 8, California’s anti-gay marriage law. Now same sex marriages are available in California. Thirteen of the 50 U.S. states plus Washington, D.C., have legalized gay marriage.
Many states permit domestic partnerships. Only 37 states or a federal marriage act to go. Same sex marriage leads the way to marriage for all who love and desire to marry and ultimately that includes polys.
“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,” Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion. “By seeking to displace this protection and treating those persons as living in marriages less respected than others, the federal statute is in violation of the Fifth Amendment.” Swing Justice Kennedy delivered the court’s opinion, and was joined by liberal Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. The right-wing justices, Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia and Samuel Alito all filed dissenting opinions.
ACLU’s Ian Thompson says, “The implications of the historic ruling were immediately apparent to Sean and Steven Brooks, a same-sex binational couple from New York City. Despite being legally married in New York, Sean was unable to sponsor Steven, who first came to the U.S. in the 1990s when his family moved from Colombia, for citizenship, due to the senseless discrimination of DOMA. Sean and Steven were facing the unimaginable: separation and deportation back to Colombia for Steven. The Supreme Court’s decision led an immigration judge halt to Steven’s deportation hearing. Not only will the Supreme Court’s decision remove the threat of deportation from this couple, but Sean will now have the ability to sponsor his spouse for citizenship just like all other married binational couples.”
The struggle isn’t over; Lisa Leff, also in the Huff Post wrote, “Less than 24 hours after California started issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples, lawyers for the sponsors of the state’s gay marriage ban filed an emergency motion Saturday asking the U.S. Supreme Court to stop the weddings being performed in San Francisco. Attorneys with the Arizona-based Alliance Defending Freedom claim in the petition that the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals acted prematurely and unfairly on Friday when it allowed gay marriage to resume by lifting the hold DOMA placed on same sex unions.
Republicans, according to John Oliver–also in the Huff Post-fear that the Court’s decision will lead to marriages between humans and animals. We wonder how you’d measure the animal’s consent. Does this stupid argument reflect the intellectual bankruptcy of Republicans or just their unconscious desires to shag their dogs?
Many gays and people in multi-partner (polyamorous) relationships do not particularly want to marry, because legal marriage gives the government records of your life and the right to intervene in your affairs. Others say that the rights and economic advantages that come with legal marriage must be theirs as well–hospital visitation, custody rights, inheritance rights, tax breaks and the like. For others, legal marriage is a matter of pride and proud public assertion of their commitment to one another.
Janet Kira Lessin, Chief of the World Polyamory Association, writes, “I remember when we were so few and hardly anyone was aware of the word ‘polyamory.” However, many have acted polyamorously (without a word to describe it), since the dawn of time. Others had multiple relationships they hid because they were conflicted based on “morality” and laws. Our DNA reflects our diverse, sexual history which verifies our non-monogamous nature. At last truth dawns and soon reigns so we can live and love with honesty and integrity, freed from the necessity of lies.
“Congratulations world. We’re waking up, making it happen, relationship choice and freedom for all beings. Rally your friends of all orientations to educate themselves on how they may support relationship choice. Now that we’re all coming out of the closet, it’s likely everyone knows (and loves as friend and family if not intimately or sexually) those who identify as LGBT or P. By each of us supporting others relationship and gender choice, we support freedom for all to be who they truly are and love who they truly love.
“I urge you to support LGBT-P (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered and, yes Polyamory) events locally and internationally.
“My life is a living testimony of how just one single polyamory event (for me it was the 1997 Polyamory Conference at Mt. Madonna, California) can totally change your life. It was at these events that I discovered I was bisexual. These revelations freed me from shame and blame, a personal hell that affected my happiness and health. Advocates of gay marriage should also be vocally in favor of polygamy since it allows bisexuals to be actively practicing married bisexuals.