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Posts Tagged ‘DOMA’

FullSizeRenderIt is 2015, and even with today’s court confirmation of the “affordable care act” provisions… I cannot believe 6 years later LGBT families in many states remain second class citizens in the face-to-face practical settings (like hospitals).

I wrote this (linked) post back in June of 2009 where various media (including Obama) was trying to placate the LGBT population by saying “hey, at least we can give these gay/lesbian folks hospital visits.*”  Way too placatory and seemed mostly disingenuous.

And yet? In 2015? After almost 16 years with my partner? When she had to be taken to the hospital and could not speak for herself? “Hospital visits*” were denied. Here is what happened. Family came to visit from out of state. Half the family went indoors with my partner, and the liquor to flow. Forty-five minutes later I came inside my living-room to see my lady barely unable to open her eyes or hold her head up. 😦 The next several hours are a painful blur. I don’t “make enough” to buy insurance on the marketplace for the “affordable care act” (ironic). And the family member that was drinking with my partner wanted to “take her to the hospital” (but we did not have insurance). So, the best I could do was run out to the garage after these people … at least talked them into putting my wife into MY car. I left without my phone or purse. IMG_3992Once we got to the ER the family members “took over.” I kept calm and told the staff at the intake window… “if I were her husband you would let me in.” This is one of the reason I call the Keystone State “Pennsyltucky.” I then let the front desk staff know that I may need to speak to a nurse to inform the staff what Rx my wife is on so that the hospital staff did not harm her with their treatment.

This was a very painful 3 hours alone for me… out in our car (instead of by her bedside). However, this day moved us to finally make the decisions to pursue and complete all the legal paperwork to ENSURE that NO family member, friend or hospital staff could EVER again keep either of us from the bedside of one another! That day, my wife could not speak for herself. So, the family I thought I could trust … demonstrated all too painfully that they would/could dismiss me. This will NEVER happen again! (Because we have finally taken legal action to notarize all paperwork to protect ourselves from here on out). Some of life’s most painful situations teach us the most valuable lessons and move us to make the most important decisions.

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Judge Vaughn Walker’s pending decision in the federal Prop 8 trial is still yet to be seen, but the marriage equality movement just won another major federal court victory.

A federal judge in Massachusetts ruled that a large part of the Defense of Marriage Act — the 1996 federal law banning recognition of same-sex marriage by the federal government — is unconstitutional.

This ruling on DOMA is wonderful news and a huge victory in our fight to bring full equality to all Americans. If the ruling is not overturned, the federal government will have to recognize same-sex marriages performed in states that recognize such marriages, eliminating yet another discriminatory barrier.

Of course, that didn’t stop Maggie Gallagher, Chair of the right-wing “National Organization for Marriage,” from claiming that this ruling might cause a “culture war”:

“Does this federal judge want to start another culture war? Does he really want another Roe. v. Wade? The simple fact is that the right of the federal government to define marriage for the purposes of its federal law and federal territories has been clear since the late 19th century, when Congress banned polygamy. Only an incompetent defense could have lost this case. We expect to win in a higher court.”

Now President Obama is faced with a critical decision: appeal the ruling to a higher court or let it stand. You can take a moment to tell President Obama you would like him to stand with equality by going here.

(Story courtesy of the Courage Campaign)

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This is exactly why we can’t have gay teachers in our schools, or gay clergy in our churches, or why we can’t have gay soldiers in our military! Careful… it’s catching! NOT!!!! 😉

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That is the title of a news story currently at HRC. It is also now a discouraging reality of our lives.

We previously lived in Oregon where we witnessed that State take three steps forward and two steps back in the relationship recognition battle through the years. Our hopes were raised, our hopes were dashed. Then our hopes were redesigned and redelivered. We were pretty content with the end result in Oregon.

But, as with most of life… don’t get too comfortable! Because the winds of change are going to blow you to a land where people have concluded that you are decidedly a full fledged second class citizen (remember the PA. Senator John Eichelberger who magnanimously stated that PA. is graciously “allowing gays to exist”?) When we moved to Pennsylvania this last summer we suddenly lost any and all relationship recognition and protections that we had in Oregon.

If only something could be done on a National level to help ensure and protect the relationship recognition and rights for same-sex couples! Wait. I believe there is something that could be done! DOMA could be repealed!

In fact, our current President made it a campaign point to say that he supported the repeal of the “Defense of Marriage Act.” On September 15, 09 Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) introduced the Respect Marriage Act in Congress to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. Time will tell whether President Obama will indeed see this campaign promise brought to fruition while it is within his power to do so.

 Marriage & Relationship Recognition

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repeal_domaIt’s official — the Respect for Marriage Act has been introduced and now it’s time to repeal the discriminatory “Defense of Marriage Act.”  Go to www.RepealDOMAnow.org and tell your member of Congress to join on as a co-sponsor.

Suggested letter to our Congress members by the Courage Campaign:

On Tuesday morning, September 15, Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) introduced the Respect Marriage Act in Congress to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. I applaud this as a step forward and as a constituent I request that you co-sponsor the bill, but I continue to demand full equality.

Like all other Americans, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people are guaranteed equal protection by the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution. But Congress chose to ignore that provision and passed DOMA anyway. Free and equal people do not settle for fractions of equality.

Equal rights are not a “gay” issue. They are about our shared human rights: safety in our schools and jobs, equitable health-care and housing, and protection for our families, to name a few.

DOMA unfairly singles out legally married same-sex couples for inequitable treatment, denying those couples the federal protections and responsibilities that otherwise apply to married couples.

It is time we ended this injustice and began the process of providing full federal equality to all Americans. I urge you to add your name as a sponsor to the Respect Marriage Act today.

Per HRC:

Through DOMA, which was signed into law 13 years ago, on 9/21/96, the federal protect_famsgovernment singles out legally married same-sex couples for discriminatory treatment under federal law, selectively denying them more than 1,100 federal protections and responsibilities – including Social Security and immigration benefits – that otherwise apply to married couples.  This policy is discriminatory and harmful to families, preventing the government from honoring its legal commitments and the needs of families, even though these couples have assumed the obligations of civil marriage under state law and contribute as citizens and taxpayers.

Per Fox News:

Republican Rep. Paul Broun of Georgia: “Over a decade later, traditional marriage – a principle tenant in our Judeo-Christian values – is under assault more than ever before,” he continued. “This is why I was extremely disappointed to see my liberal colleagues introduce legislation today to repeal the bipartisan Defense of Marriage Act.”

dumpdomaThe Respect for Marriage Act, unveiled by Reps. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., and Jared Polis, D-Colo, has the support of more than 90 lawmakers.

The legislation would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a 1996 law signed by President Bill Clinton.

This is the “first step to overturning DOMA,” Nadler said, who called the law (DOMA) “irrational and hateful.”

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Update:

September 18, 2009The Department of Justice filed a motion today to dismiss GLAD’s case Gill v. Office of Personnel Management.
Their motion can be read here: DOJ Motion To Dismiss. Read more about the case.
In essence, although the D.O.J. understand that the administration does not support DOMA, what they are basing their motion to dismiss on is whether repealing DOMA will be “constitutional” or not. Hopefully, this is a small hiccup that will not derail the Respect for Marriage Act.

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