BOSTON (BP)–The same legal group that successfully sued for legalized “gay marriage” in Massachusetts now wants the federal government to recognize those relationships.
As reported by The Boston Globe, the group Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) is considering either filing a lawsuit or lobbying Congress to strike down the section of the federal Defense of Marriage Act that prohibits the government from recognizing “gay marriage.” If that section is axed, then same-sex couples in Massachusetts will receive the federal legal benefits of marriage.
Currently, though, GLAD says it is not trying to overturn the section of DOMA that gives states the option of not recognizing another state’s “gay marriage” — even though other homosexual organizations have expressed such a desire to see that section repealed.
“We are not interested in forcing any other state to do anything on marriage laws,” GLAD’s Carissa Cunningham told The Globe. “We’re looking at where [the Defense of Marriage Act] most affects married couples and where the law may be vulnerable.”
The decision to target only one section of DOMA likely is a pragmatic one. Politically, it would be nearly impossible to repeal the section that could force other states to recognize “marriages” from Massachusetts. Additionally, with the Supreme Court now leaning to the right, any legal route looks futile, too.
President Bush supports the Defense of Marriage Act, so the law appears safe at least until he leaves office.
GLAD surveyed same-sex couples who had “married” in Massachusetts to see whether they were interested in receiving federal marriage benefits, The Globe reported. GLAD also ran advertisements in homosexual publications to see if any readers wanted to but weren’t being allowed to apply for a burial with their “spouse” at Arlington National Cemetery. The ad said, “It is time to end federal discrimination against married couples!”
“There’s no doubt that the gay community nationwide wants to get rid of the DOMA,” Kris Mineau, president of the Massachusetts Family Institute, told The Globe.
The law was signed by President Clinton in 1996 as the Hawaii Supreme Court appeared on the verge of legalizing “gay marriage.” Voters there prevented such a decision by passing a constitutional marriage amendment.
But even though Clinton supported the bill, his wife wants to overturn part of it — the section GLAD is targeting. In fact, statements about DOMA by Hillary Clinton and the other Democratic presidential candidates have given a boost to GLAD’s strategy and made the goal seem feasible, particularly if a Democrat wins the White House and Democrats maintain control of Congress. John Edwards also favors the repeal of that particular section of DOMA, while Barack Obama supports repealing DOMA in its entirety.
Some legal scholars believe repealing all of DOMA would clear the way for legalizing “gay marriage” nationwide. In the 11 years since DOMA was signed into law, 27 states have adopted constitutional marriage amendments.
All of the major Democratic candidates appeared at an historic forum in early August to talk exclusively about homosexual issues. New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson was blunt in his prediction of the future, saying “the nation is on a path to full inclusion” to recognize “gay marriage.”
Clinton told the audience then that as president she hopes to be a “partner” with the homosexual community. She also expressed her opposition to state marriage amendments.
“It’s easy to forget that just two and a half years ago, we were facing all of these referenda that were enshrining discrimination in state constitutions,” she said. “And a lot of people tried very hard to fight against them and prevent them from being passed, but unfortunately they were [passed]. Now, two and a half years later, we’re beginning to see other states take different approaches.”
UPROAR OVER NEWSPAPER ANNOUNCEMENT — Running a newspaper announcement for a same-sex “engagement” might not be a big deal in large cities like New York City, but it was a big deal in the town of Warrensburg, Mo., in late September — so much so that at least three businesses stopped running their ads in the publication, The Daily Star-Journal.
The Associated Press reported that on Sept. 26 the newspaper — which has a circulation of 4,700 and is published five days a week — for the first time ran an announcement for a commitment ceremony involving two homosexual men. Some subscribers have cancelled their subscriptions, and a number of readers have written letters to the editor expressing their disagreement with the decision.
“Your bold decision to promote this lifestyle is a flagrant attack on the traditional family God has instituted for us,” Bob Ingle, pastor of First Baptist Church in Warrensburg, wrote.
The Associated Press said that in 2006 about 900 daily newspapers nationwide ran such announcements, according to the organization Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation.
STILL WAITING IN CONN. — Both sides of the legal dispute over “gay marriage” continue to eye the Connecticut Supreme Court, which any week now could issue its much-awaited decision on the issue. A ruling for “gay marriage” would make Connecticut the second state in the nation to legalize “marriage” for same-sex couples.
Additionally, supreme courts in California and Iowa are scheduled to hear oral arguments on the issue in coming months.
Michael Foust is assistant editor of Baptist Press.