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R-E-S-P-E-C-T find out what it means … to Congress.
U.S. Reps. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., and Jared Polis, D-Colo., recently introduced the Respect for Marriage Act, which would repeal the so-called Defense of Marriage Act.
We say “so-called” because the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act does not defend marriage, does not provide anything to encourage people to marry or stay married or improve marriages.
And we don’t think DOMA was passed with the intention of defending marriage any more than literacy tests were enacted to preserve the integrity of the election process.
DOMA was enacted to maintain legal discrimination of gays and lesbians; to perpetuate the prejudicial notion that gay and lesbian relationships are lesser than straight unions, illegitimate, improper, wrong; and, sickly, if you’ll recall the time, to play partisan games.
We have lived with DOMA for 13 years, and we have seen DOMA cited in multiple ways to deny — not defend — marriage rights. Because of DOMA, legally married same-sex couples in the United States are denied many benefits extended to opposite-sex married couples, some of them small, some significant.
So two of our openly gay members of the U.S. House joined Nadler to introduce the Respect for Marriage Act, which, on the day of its introduction, already had 91 co-sponsors.
Among then, U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., offered a candid statement reversing his position on DOMA: “On July 12, 1996, I cast the worst vote of my political career. Having served in public office since 1973, that says
something. While I’ve made other mistakes, this was different: It was a deliberate vote that I knew to be poor public policy and was against my values.” Blumenauer thought passage of DOMA would mellow the rightwingers.
“Far from stopping it, this vote fed the bigotry,” he wrote in an op-ed piece for HuffingtonPost.com.
And the right-wingers feasted for years. Now, can we say the banquet is over? The Respect for Marriage Act would repeal DOMA and, by adopting the place-of-celebration rule recommended in the Uniform Marriage and Divorce
Act, embrace the common law principle that marriages that are valid in the state where they were entered into will be recognized, according to Nadler’s office. Marriage recognition under state law would continue to be decided
state by state.
R-E-S-P-E-C-T, take care, TCB.