Equality for Gay Americans Not Complete Until the End of DOMA
The presidency of Barack Obama has brought a sea change to Gay rights, with the repeal of DODT (Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell) and the president’s announcement that he supports same-sex marriage. Not only has the Obama’s presidency moved gay rights forward, Americans in general have become more accepting of gay rights as a whole.
Still, we have one more mile to go when it comes to legal recognition by the federal government and perhaps many years to go before the states all have opened their doors to equality for LGBT members. Even though the president spoke out in support of gay marriage, it will be quite another to persuade Congress to appeal DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act). There are also a couple of issues on the table that have priority; immigration reform and gun control that is currently being negotiated in the halls of Congress. Perhaps the best time for the Obama administration to pursue overturning DOMA would be after the midterm elections.
It is important that the federal government recognize same-sex marriage, which it now has to do in our armed forces in some ways and will grow, being it now allows gays to serve openly. I must say, the repeal of DODT really opened the door to so many opportunities as far as the civil rights of LGBT members. It would serve to say that if even our U.S. Military has to adjust, surely our own civilian government would have to follow suit.
I realize that much is riding on two U.S. Supreme Court rulings on gay marriage issues, one concerning Proposition 8 in California and another challenging federal benefit rights in states that allow same-sex marriage. Justice Anthony Kennedy could swing either way, and we never know if we are going to get a left fielder from Chief Justice John Roberts, after his unexpected vote and interpretation of the health insurance mandate’s penalty, if someone does not purchase health insurance as a tax, in the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling regarding Obamacare.
Though I can quite understand why repealing the Defense of Marriage Act is not a top priority and certainly our supporters and we LGBT members ourselves must be patient, our president has been a loyal and fervent supporter as no president ever has. He has moved our push for equal rights forward by a great milestone during his first term, and I am certain he will finish the job with the repeal of DOMA in his second term.
Let us hope for an election in 2014 and that will change the makeup of Congress enough to force it to be more of a partner and less of a foe, to the president and to their political opponents, for the last half of Obama’s second term. This would be an excellent time for the president to push Congress to end a law that should have never happened in the first place and which also violates our Constitution.
What we need here is momentum, for Gay Marriage to move forward and Gay Rights in general move to a complete level of equality as all other Americans. In summary, we need two rulings from the U.S. Supreme Court upholding gay marriage. We need Democrats and legislators who are supportive of gay rights — Democrat or Republican — winning more seats in the 2014 midterm election, and we need our president, Barack Obama to finish the job he started when it comes to gay rights in America by ending DOMA and opening the door of equality once and for all for LGBT members.