Battle over gay marriage
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, you know there has been a movement sweeping the nation to fight for equal rights for gay and lesbian couples who want to get married. The Defense of Marriage Act, also known as DOMA, denies federal benefits like Social Security benefits or the ability to file joint tax returns to same-sex couples who are legally married. There are already roughly 130,000 married same-sex couples in the United States today. DOMA impacts approximately 1100 federal laws including veteran’s benefits, family medical leave and tax laws.
I asked a friend, Vince, who happens to be a gay man in a long-term relationship, if he planned to get married and how he felt about the issue overall. Vince’s reply was, “I don’t plan to get married any time soon, but one day I would like to. I understand why churches don’t accept gay marriage based on religious beliefs. But I have a problem with the government not acknowledging it for legal purposes. It’s really no one’s business who marries who and it’s wrong to deny us the same benefits of marriage that others have just because you don’t agree with who I choose to marry.”
Although it does not directly affect him right now, Vince’s passion on the topic was more obvious when discussing a friend’s situation. “I have a friend who has been involved with a native Australian for twelve years. Because of his citizenship situation, they have to move back to Australia every couple of years. Even though getting married in some states is accepted on the state level, it still would not be recognized by the federal government so it would be pointless for immigration purposes. They have even thought about having him marry a woman just to make him legal but they don’t want to cheat the system and would prefer to be recognized as a married couple on their own merits.” Whether you’re gay or straight, everyone would like for their marriage to be publicly acknowledged. After all, that’s part of the reason for getting married in the first place.