On Wednesday the Supreme Court is going to begin consideration of the Defense of Marriage Act. Enacted in 1996, it formally defines marriage as being between a man and a woman, while circumventing the Faith and Credit Clause by allowing each state to either recognize or ignore same-sex marriages from other states at their own discretion. Most importantly, it does not allow recognition of same-sex marriage for the purpose of taxes, health insurance, social security, immigration, or any other benefits normally derived from a heterosexual marriage.
Yeah. Newt Gingrich – who is on his third marriage and is probably courting Wife #4 as we speak – felt strongly enough about the sanctity of marriage back then that even though he’s a textbook case of pathological infidelity, he still thought he had enough of a moral high ground over homosexuals to keep those who wanted to get married from doing so.
Because gay people apparently cheapen the institution. Well, the best defense is a good offense.
Anyway, this steaming mess is headed to the Supreme Court on Wednesday. In the meantime, four more US senators have “come out”, so to speak, in opposition to DOMA. The text snippets are from various sources:
- First, there’s Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.): “My views on this subject have changed over time, but as many of my gay and lesbian friends, colleagues and staff embrace long term committed relationships, I find myself unable to look them in the eye without honestly confronting this uncomfortable inequality,” McCaskill wrote in a Tumblr post Sunday night. “Supporting marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples is simply the right thing to do for our country, a country founded on the principals of liberty and equality.”
- Sen Mark Warner (D-Va.): “I support marriage equality because it is the fair and right thing to do,” Warner wrote. “Like many Virginians and Americans, my views on gay marriage have evolved, and this is the inevitable extension of my efforts to promote equality and opportunity for everyone.”
- Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V.): “Like so many of my generation, my views on allowing gay couples to marry have been challenged in recent years by a new, more open generation. Churches and ministers should never have to perform marriages that violate their religious beliefs, but the government shouldn’t discriminate against people who want to marry just because of their gender,” Rockefeller said in a statement emailed to ABC News today.
- Sen Tim Johnson (D-S.D.): all I can get is a tweet from BuzzFeed saying that his spokesman says he no longer supports DOMA. Like Rockefeller, he voted for it in 1996, but changed his views in later years. Around 2006, he spoke vehemently on the Senate floor in opposition to the Marriage Protection Amendment, citing DOMA, state constitutional amendments, and better use of time on priorities like health care and the economy as the reasons.
If I understand the articles correctly, it looks like neither Rockefeller nor Johnson are going to be running for re-election. Would have been nice if they hadn’t waited until now to speak so openly in opposition to DOMA, but I guess it’s easier to speak your mind when you know you have nothing to lose.
In the interest of fairness, both democrats and republicans have filed amicus briefs opposing DOMA, and the list of signatories for both parties is pretty significant. Granted, it’s not likely you’re going to see many sitting senators or other big names on the GOP side, but it goes quite a way to dispel the idea that all republicans are opposed to same sex marriage. Also, there’s safety in numbers. Hopefully seeing this kind of movement will embolden others to step up and do the same going forward.
The full lists are provided in the links above.