The Defense of Marriage Act, enacted in 1996, is one way in which the conservatives of this country hold same-sex couples down, discriminating against them on the national level by essentially legislating that marriage is a construct open solely to one man and one woman. The law is discriminatory and unconstitutional.
On Thursday, Massachusetts Federal Judge Joseph Tauro ruled that part of the DOMA was in violation of the U.S. Constitution -- specifically the Fifth and Tenth Amendments. The ruling does not apply to the entirety of the law, but to a specific provision of it.
Still, Tauro ruled that federal law cannot discriminate against same-sex marriages in states where those unions are legal. Since same-sex couples are allowed to marry in Massachusetts, the ruling means they are eligible for the same federal rights and benefits as heterosexual married couples. Under DOMA, there are two sets of rights for married couples: one for straight couples and another for homosexual couples.
Will the conservatives who trumpet about state rights go along with this ruling (the 10th Amendment establishes state rights), or will they expose their collective hypocrisy yet again in the name of discrimination?
President Obama and his Department of Justice have yet to decide on how to proceed -- as the defenders of DOMA, the DOJ can appeal the ruling. President Obama promised to repeal DOMA on the campaign trail, but his administration is faced with defending the policy against court challenges until Congress works on a repeal.
And we know how long Congress can take.
John Nichols of The Nation magazine examined the issue, hoping that President Obama and his administration would let the issue stand, which would pave the way for such decisions in the four other states where gay marriage is legal. Rather than prattle on and on about how I feel -- my support for same-sex marriage is fairly obvious -- I'll merely let you read Nichols' words.
You can find them here.