Marriage act must reform to mirror equality

by Heidi Krick – Asst. Campus Voice Editor – hkrick@unca.edu

The Defense of Marriage Act should be called the Discriminating Against Same Sex Couples Act.

The Obama administration urged the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday to overturn the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, calling the law unconstitutional by disregarding the fundamental right found under the 14th Amendment for all Americans to receive equal protection.

By recognizing same-sex marriages, the federal government would move toward eliminating the archaic belief that gay marriages are somehow harmful, illegitimate or unnecessary.

DOMA defines marriage under federal law as an institution between one man and one woman.

The issue under DOMA currently deliberated by the U.S. Supreme Court, Section 3, prevents the federal government from recognizing marriages between gay and lesbian couples for the purpose of federal laws or programs.

Gay and lesbian couples considered legally married in their home state, under Section 3 of DOMA, do not receive benefits that millions of married couples in America enjoy, including tax and social security benefits.

The American public should be outraged by such a blatantly discriminatory piece of federal legislation.

No real, moral or cultural benefit exists from federal refusal to acknowledge gay and lesbian marriages, which the American majority now recognizes.

A 2012 poll by the Pew Research Center showed 59 percent of Americans opposed DOMA altogether, and a 2011 Gallup poll showed 53 percent of Americans believed same-sex marriages should be a recog nized federal law.

The long overdue shift in attitude toward gay marriage must now be reflected in eliminating federal legislation opposing gay marriage.

Americans lived for more than 200 years without the need for a federal definition of marriage.  DOMA unnecessarily intruded on state’s rights and created the need for a federal definition by bending to the whims of staunch gay rights opposition.

The existing right for individual states to determine whether or not to recognize gay marriages should remain, but the current federal legislation creates the sense a gay marriage ceremony may be almost pointless.

Couples decide to join together in marriage for many reasons like publicly celebrating their love with friends and family and beginning their lives together as unified partners.

The federal law prohibits same sex-unification in many ways, for example, by denying benefits to same-sex families with partners who serve in the U.S. military.

The law also prohibits same-sex couples from child-rearing benefits typically awarded to heterosexual couples, married or unmarried.

There lies the distinct difference between civil unions and marriages.  Civil unions, a legal union recognized in five states, only allow a couple to receive state rights and benefits.

DOMA Section 3 perpetuates the unjustified belief that gay marriage somehow diminishes the meaning of marriage by deeming same-sex couples unworthy of federal recognition and benefits.

Love does not recognize sex, just as it does not recognize color.  Gay couples have not done anything wrong by living their lives the way their hearts want them to live.

Preventing gay couples from publicly declaring their love the same way straight couples declare their love creates a sentiment opposite from what the Constitution intends – hate and oppression.

Discrimination because of sexual orientation remains a long and unnecessary tradition in American history.

America must now accept the facts and information available proving no basis exists for discriminating against gay or lesbian couples.

Several scientific studies disproved the belief that homosexuality exists unnaturally in humans.  Yale Scientific Magazine published a study last year showing homosexual behavior in at least 1,500 different animal species.

The only thing abnormal about homosexuality is the refusal to accept its prevalence.  Homosexuality will not simply disappear from human existence, no matter how long it takes America to accept.

Blacks fought for hundreds of years for equal rights in America.  The way the federal government treats gay couples today conjures a similar problem.

Blacks were viewed as somehow less of a human simply because of their skin color, something they cannot control.

The 13th Amendment outlawed slavery in 1865 and yet it still took America another 100 years to understand neither skin color nor sex can be a justified reason to oppress or discriminate anyone.

Today’s federal government treats gay couples as inferior because of who they love, something they cannot control.

The American public should not stand by while the government takes more unnecessary time determining whether gay people deserve the same rights the government affords their straight brothers and sisters.

Gay couples face opposition demanding an explanation or reason for the love felt towards their partners.  Gay couples should not have to explain or rationalize why their marriages should be recognized by the federal government.

Heterosexuals opposing gay marriage should ask how they would feel if they were forced to answer such a demoralizing question.

No one can explain why they love their partners.  Love is a feeling and an emotion, not a state of mind or answers to a questionnaire.

Any person willing to sign their life to another should be awarded a medal, let alone federal benefits.  Americans must not allow another year to go by with the federal government refusing to recognize gay marriages in states that allow the union.

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