Author of Adam and Steve, a novel about reexamining your prejudices

Posts tagged ‘marriage’

Same-sex marriage is here to stay

English: The United States Supreme Court, the ...

The United States Supreme Court, the highest court in the United States, in 2010. Top row (left to right): Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Associate Justice Stephen G. Breyer, Associate Justice Samuel A. Alito, and Associate Justice Elena Kagan. Bottom row (left to right): Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, Associate Justice Antonin Scalia, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy, and Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today and tomorrow the Supreme Court will hear arguments as to whether the government has a legal basis for denying gays and lesbians both the right to marry and the benefits of marriage.  If precedent governs the Court’s decision, the Justices will search for harm caused by same-sex marriage. Unfortunately, for those diehard marriage equality haters, there simply is none. Even the lawyers who argued the case in California admitted as much.

If there is no provable harm, then the Court will be faced with a different, more perplexing question. Can the Supreme Court uphold same-sex marriage bans and the Federal government’s discrimination against same-sex couples if a majority of the nine Justices believe same-sex marriage is morally reprehensible or homosexuality is just plain yucky? Our country is a country of laws. As such, the Justices’ religious beliefs or personal distaste should never be an adequate reason for denying civil rights. At least one Justice, Antonin Scalia, however, might disagree. He vociferously opposes same-sex marriage, and has telegraphed his moral outrage from the bench. When dissenting against the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down anti-sodomy laws, the Justice was fearful that allowing sodomy would inexorably lead to allowing same-sex marriage and would obliterate any distinction “between heterosexual and homosexual unions”. (Sodomy isn’t even the distinction the Justice believes it to be, since sodomy is practiced willingly by many heterosexual couples.) See, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/24/opinion/sunday/bruni-marriage-and-the-supremes.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&

Justice Scalia is now in the minority in America. A monumental shift has occurred in just a few years.  In an ABC News/Washington Post survey, respondents favored same-sex marriage by a margin of 58% to 36%, almost an exact reversal from the respondents in a similar poll conducted seven years ago. Over 81% of young adults now support same-sex marriage.  Http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2013/03/18/gay-marriage-support-hits-new-high-in-post-abc-poll/ Our President is a staunch supporter when just a year ago he was not. The Republican Party, the standard-bearer of anti-gay rights, has done an about-face in only a matter of months.

If the politicians wish to remain in office, then they will support same-sex marriage, making the Court’s decision somewhat irrelevant. If the Court decides that the Defense of Marriage Act is constitutional, Congress can repeal it. If the Court decides a state’s ban on same-sex marriage is constitutional, the state legislature can repeal it and replace it with a marriage equality law. Same-sex marriage is here to stay, because Americans have finally stood for what is right and fair and will cause their politicians to do the same even if the Supreme Court chooses not to.

Defend Marriage From DOMA

“Slavery, sir, it’s done,” were the words President Lincoln, in the recently released movie Lincoln, says to the envoy from the Confederate States. So can it be said for the Defense of Marriage Act or DOMA, as it is called.   Marriage inequality, my follow Americans, it’s done.

The Supreme Court is to decide this term whether DOMA is Constitutional or not.  Hopefully, the Supremes will see what is readily apparent to civil rights advocates.  DOMA, Congress’ shameful and degrading slap on the gay and lesbian community, is unconstitutional and should be rended null and unenforceable. Here’s what it’s about.

DOMA was federally enacted in 1996 and signed into law by Bill Clinton, one of our more liberal Presidents. It has only three invidious sections. Section 1 defines marriage for Federal purposes as exclusively between a man and a woman.  Coupled with Section 3 which permits the Federal government to disregard same-sex marriages for Federal purposes, same-sex couples are denied over 1,100 federal rights that benefit heterosexual couples, including:

  • joint parenting rights;
  • joint adoption rights;
  • status as next-of-kin for hospital visits and medical decisions;
  • wrongful death benefits for a surviving spouse;
  • tax-free transfer of property between spouses;
  • spousal rights to Social Security benefits;
  • exemption from “due on sale” clauses in home mortgages when one spouse dies; and
  • rights to funeral and bereavement leave,

just to name a few.   One of the less obvious, but more odious effects of the law is as follows: If a married couple is, for example, comprised of two men, one of the men will never be permitted to be the father of their child, because the child will already have a father.

The second provision of DOMA authorizes each state to ignore same-sex marriages performed legally in another jurisdiction. Here’s were the Congressional slap becomes apparent. Article IV, Section 1 of our Federal Constitution – a provision which helped create a federal union from our many States – requires that each State recognize and respect the laws and acts of every other State. That’s why, Virginia, for example, is required to recognize a Connecticut driver’s license or a heterosexual marriage legally performed in Connecticut.  Because of DOMA, however, Virginia is not required to recognize a same-sex marriage legally performed in Connecticut, and, as of today, it does not.

If marriage needs defending, then all marriages need defending. When one marriage is under attack, then all marriages are under attack. What the feds took from the gay and lesbian community, they can take from the heterosexual community.  Indeed, today marriage needs defending. It needs defending from Congress, and the Supreme Court is poised to do just that.

 

President Bill Clinton signing DOMA into law. Image curtesy of: http://kirkcameron.com/2012/10/defense-of-marriage-act-is-declared-unconstitutional/

Adam and Steve

Kate is apprehensive about meeting her son Joey for the first time in thirteen years-the first time Adam&Stevesince she gave birth to him and relinquished custody to the father, Michael Shaw. She’s invited to Michael’s home where he lives with his husband, Stuart Shaw, a restaurant manager. Kate feels a bit uncomfortable, and this turns to shock when she discovers naked pictures of Joey on Stuart’s phone.

Thinking her son is in danger from a pedophile stepfather, she and her husband, Larry, sue for custody of Joey. For Stuart, the possible loss of his stepson culminates a lifetime of victimization by homophobes, whether it be his mother, classmate, employer, the average man in a bar letting loose after a hard day’s work, or the judge who decides his family’s fate. Michael and Stuart must discover who took the pictures in order to prove Stuart didn’t do anything to endanger his stepson and to regain custody of Joey. Stuart refuses to be a victim and demands to be heard, but that could change his destiny.

A novel of legal intrigue, Adam and Steve explores the timely subjects of marriage equality, child custody, prejudice against homosexuality, and gay marriage laws as Michael and Stuart face a difficult struggle to maintain their family.

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