Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

U.S. Supreme Court Strikes Down DOMA, California’s Prop. 8, in Historic Rulings

with 5 comments

Today, the United States Supreme Court struck down two laws, the federal Defense of Marriage Act (or DOMA) and California’s controversial Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage in that state.   With two different 5-4 rulings, the Supreme Court has affirmed that discrimination on the basis of whom people love is illegal — at least, if you are in one of the twelve states where gay marriage is legal already, the District of Columbia (where it’s also legal), or in California, where it’s soon to be legal again.

Here’s a link to a story on Yahoo regarding the overall historical impact of these two different decisions, what the groups on both sides plan to do next, and so forth and so on.

As for what I think?  Well, I’m very pleased that the Supreme Court struck down DOMA and threw out California’s Prop. 8 (albeit on a technicality), because I believe everyone who’s above the age of consent and is in love with a supportive and loving partner should be allowed to marry that partner.  Whether it’s a man and a woman marrying, two women, two men, or two transgendered individuals, what matters is the love — not the form of that love.

The only thing that bothers me about these particular decisions is the limitations placed upon them by the Supreme Court.  In striking down DOMA, the Supremes basically said that if you legally married a same-sex partner in the various states where it either is legal now or has been legal in the past (and was legal at the time, such as in California until Proposition 8 was voted for by that state’s voters), the federal government must treat you as married.  And that way, you have all the rights and privileges of a married couple — which is exactly as it should be.

However, if you’re in a state like Wisconsin, where we have a state-specific version of DOMA on the books, if you are a same-sex couple you still cannot marry under the law.  You are still allowed to be legally discrimination against in taxation, adoption, and other issues, under the law.  And unless and until we get a Democratic Assembly and/or a Democratic Governor, things are unlikely to change due to the bunch of radical Republicans we have right now in Wisconsin, as in addition to these radical Rs running the state into the ground, they also oppose same-sex marriage on reactionary terms — not on realistic ones.

In other words, the Rs in Wisconsin see marriage as a religious ceremony first, with statehood recognition of that ceremony coming second.  (This does not really make much sense because many non-religious people or those who are religious but want to save on money go and get married before the judge in a courthouse in a non-religious ceremony.  But it’s how they seem to believe.)  The rights and privileges a married couple gets in Wisconsin cannot go to a same-sex couple — not even in Madison, which has had domestic partnership benefits for many years — because that’s what the radical Rs want.

I have news for these Rs.  Marriage is for everyone.  That’s basically what the Supreme Court said today, even though they stopped short of striking down other statehood bans like Wisconsin’s in their narrowly targeted rulings.  If you are in love, and you want to get married, and if you want to raise a family, you should be allowed to get married and raise that family.  Period.

This is one of the few cultural issues where the Rs have largely been out of step with the mainstream of Wisconsin and the rest of the country.   For example, there are now three Republican U.S. Senators who are for gay marriage — Rob Portman of Ohio, who has a gay son, Mark Kirk of Illinois, and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.  There are a few others, like John McCain, who’ve said before that they have no problem with gay couples, per se, but they don’t think these couples should be allowed to marry.  Then the rest of the Rs basically want to take the country back to the 1950s, if not earlier, on cultural issues — which isn’t likely to happen, fortunately for the rest of us.

In Wisconsin, I don’t know of any single one Republican Senator or Assemblyman who believes that same-sex marriage should be legal in all 50 states.  (Or even just in Wisconsin.)  All eighteen Senators oppose same-sex marriage; all sixty Republicans in the Assembly oppose it.

And, of course, Wisconsin’s Republican Governor Scott Walker also adamantly opposes same-sex marriage, mostly on religious grounds.

Look.  For the most part, I’m for most religions, providing they help people and give meaning and value to their lives.  But when a religion insists that some people are better than others — in this case, a heterosexual married couple matters more than a same-sex married couple — that’s where I start to get upset.

And when a politician can’t even be bothered to say, “Look.  I haven’t really studied the issues yet, but my religion has always said that gay people are sinful.  That’s why I really cannot support marriage equality,” but stands behind the religious fig-leaf as if the religion is doing his or her thinking for him, that really bothers me.

My thought right now is that this issue, along with the new legislation that Scott Walker said he’ll sign that mandates that all women get trans-vaginal ultrasounds before having a medically necessary abortion (unless you’ve been raped or a victim of incest and have gone to report the same), is the most likely one to defeat the Wisconsin Rs.

So those of us who worked so hard to recall Scott Walker (myself included) may still have hope.  This is an obstinate man we’re talking about, someone who firmly believes everyone in the state is behind him despite the recall evidence to the contrary.  And he’s leading a radical party that’s done a lot of things that voters disagree with, to boot — so when he’s up for re-election in 2014, if we have a Democrat with statewide recognition to run against him (please, not Tom Barrett again — I like him, but he has proven he can’t win against Walker), we should be able to get him out.

As for me, I voted against Walker, signed the recall, voted to replace him, and will vote against Walker again in 2014.  (I’m on the record as saying I’d rather vote for an empty paper bag rather than Walker, as that empty paper bag will do far less harm.)  But I’m a realist.  I know Walker hasn’t done what he said he would do — not with regards to jobs, not with regards to honesty and transparency, not with regards to anything, except for one (he kept his promise to turn down the money for light rail, as he found it unnecessary; however, in so doing, he also eliminated at least three hundred prospective new jobs) — and I want him out of there before he manages to harm the state even further.

My advice for the Wisconsin Rs is this — get with the program regarding same-sex marriage.  This issue is not going to go away any time too soon, and most younger voters disagree with you and your stated beliefs on this issue.  And if you are unwilling to change with the times, and admit that all marriages should be equal under the law, you will be voted out.

Maybe not in 2014.  Maybe not even in 2016.

But you will be voted out.

And I, for one, will be very happy once you are, as you’ve done more than enough damage already.

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5 Responses

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  1. I’m a believer in God myself, but many people use religion simply to bolster their ego or their political ideology, which misses the whole point…

    This ruling is very narrow, but it’s a good first small step, and it did make me cheer today 🙂

    eurobrat

    June 26, 2013 at 8:42 pm

    • Yeah, same here. But we need to take further steps, so every state in America allows same-sex couples to marry in the same manner opposite-sex couples now can do (and have done).

      And yes, you’re perfectly right about how many people use religion. I don’t think that’s what it was ever designed to do, but we humans mostly *have* done it (Jesus’s story about the moneylenders in the Temple comes to mind) since time immemorial.

      I wish we’d stop doing it.

      Barb Caffrey

      June 27, 2013 at 3:49 am

      • Agreed about the changes in state law…I’m embarrassed to say that my home state of Oregon–for a very liberal state!–has made gay marriage illegal. We’ve got work to do over here!

        eurobrat

        June 27, 2013 at 9:25 pm

      • Agreed. I would’ve thought Oregon the last state to do such a thing — gay marriage is illegal in Wisconsin, too, which is really asinine considering how Madison, WI, figures into the whole picture as a bastion (and an early one) for gay rights, but then we have these stupid radical Rs in power right now, too — so I hope that the voters of Oregon will be able to roll this back or convince their elected reps to do the same.

        Barb Caffrey

        June 28, 2013 at 7:45 pm

      • I certainly hope so!

        eurobrat

        July 1, 2013 at 1:18 pm


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