- Posted March 28, 2013 by
London, United Kingdom
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Same-sex marriage hearings: Your thoughts
Nearly 10 years of marriage, the sky hasn't fallen but DOMA should
- nsaidi, CNN iReport producer
Based on arguments at SCOTUS yesterday, it boggles my mind how a nation founded on principles enshrined in the Bill of Rights continues to maintain such antiquated views. Yes, religion plays a huge part. Although religion where it is enshrined such as the Church of England here in the UK, there are already civil partnerships and as of next year, marriage equality because the State (government) recognizes marriage is a civil (and not necessarily a religious) issue.
It belies common sense that this is nothing more than discrimination. To justify a fixed unchanging view of marriage is not to protect but to exclude marriage unfairly. If we follow such fixed views, women would remain property and part of a contract/dowry which certainly matches some other less evolved democracies in the world. Is this the more perfect union envisioned by the Founding Fathers? By next year more than a dozen more advanced democracies around the world will have marriage equality. The US will no longer be the leader of promoting rights it was founded upon.
At the end of the day whilst conservatives would like to say it is a religious issue, the civil contract of marriage has been controlled by the State for centuries which ratifies the ceremonies performed in churches. Those ceremonies not performed in a church (i.e. those at City hall) are *no less valid* so leave religion off the table and placing the canard of procreation as a basis of marriage. Following that vein of thought would invalidate many heterosexual marriages who have chosen not to have children or because of biological difficulty can't have children. Ultimately those against marriage equality have to rely on religion otherwise they have no case.
Personally speaking my husband and I were one of the scores of couples in line at midnight on 17 May 2004. It was a Sunday at Cambridge City Hall in Massachusetts. The kind workers at City Hall volunteered to open at midnight. We didn't know if Governor Romney would shut the whole thing down and we knew we were in it for the long haul so we wanted to go as soon as we could so we joined the queue at 18.30. All of the news crews and a small group of Fred Phelps haters showed up as this was the first time in the nation's history that marriage equality was achieved. After waiting in line for midnight we finally entered around 1.30am as the 51st couple in line. After filing the paperwork in these wee-hours of the morning, we left to the shouts of nearly a thousand well-wishers. I'll never forget the tactile feeling of the crowd roaring with cheers and hugging. We returned later that Thursday (after the 3 day waiting period in Massachusetts) to no crowd but with some close friends. My parents (devout Catholic Republicans) decided to go to Florida instead of coming. Just a part of history and chapter in our lives in Massachusetts.
The euphoria was short lived as it was confirmed next month that my husband who is an Italian citizen would not be able to renew/extend his visa. Ironically, one of our close friends (she an American citizen, he a Colombian) got married the same month but she was able to sponsor him for a green card.
Despite a valid marriage certificate from Massachusetts, I could not sponsor my husband so we had to move to another country where we could live together. September 2004 we left the United States and ended up living here in London for almost a decade now...still together and nearly 10 years married.
I think that SCOTUS should strike down anti-discriminatory marriage bans in the US. However, there are indications that Justice Kennedy suggests a softly softly approach. I hope that Justices would have the strength and courage of conviction to right this wrong.
In particular, if SCOTUS, as news analysis indicates, wants to let States decide on their local definition of marriage, then PLEASE strike down DOMA at least! Valid marriage certificates from States which do not discriminate against gay and lesbian couples SHOULD be recognized by the federal government. I should be allowed to sponsor my husband for a green card. We're married, why don't I have that federal right?
Even though Thanksgiving is mostly an American holiday (it's not here in the UK), we travel back to visit my brother and his family. I can't say how upset I was to learn that my 5 year old niece had been crying herself to bed that her uncles can't stay longer or visit more often or live close by.
Although we don't have any children (yet) you don't need to be a parent to see what these laws do to families.
Justice Kennedy rightfully raised the issue of the 40,000 children in California. However, there are hundreds of thousands of other family members, nieces, nephews that are affected by DOMA's discrimination. Please make a huge difference to our lives SCOTUS and if you don't want to find equality of marriage to be an American inalienable right, please at least do the decent thing AND allow gay and lesbian families access to the rights of the federal government denied us under DOMA.
Maybe then my husband and I could move back to the US and my niece would not have to cry so much. Here's hoping.