It’s no secret that the definition of marriage is under attack all around the country. Is there anything you can do?
Same-sex marriage activists want marriage between two men, or two women, to become the norm. (Six states already allow two people of the same sex to marry. They are: Iowa, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Vermont, New York, Massachusetts, as well as the District of Columbia. Although, that number pales in comparison to the over 40 states that have by statute or constitutional amendment, affirmed marriage as between one man and one woman).
To that end, gay activists must get rid of a very big federal law standing in their way– the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), passed by Congress and signed by President Clinton in 1996. That law defines marriage as between a man and a woman for purposes of all federal law and benefits. So, activists are challenging DOMA in courts all over the country. Meanwhile, the U.S. House of Representatives, led by conservative lawmakers, has hired outside legal counsel to defend DOMA.
Then comes the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, dominated by Democrats sympathetic to the gay community, which next week will do its part to get rid of DOMA when it votes on the Marriage Equality Act (S. 598). The bill would officially repeal DOMA, and offer federal recognition (read: tax benefits, federal employee benefits, etc…) to any same-sex American couple married in the U.S., or any gay couple who marries outside the U.S. (Meaning if you live in one of the 40+ states that oppose gay marriage, you can get married in Canada and return to your home state as “married” under federal law. Take that, states!)
The good news is that the U.S. House is, due to the 2010 election, dominated by conservative lawmakers who aren’t about to consider, much less vote on, a repeal of DOMA. Put another way — even though 6 states have passed gay marriage, even though the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee will vote to repeal DOMA, and even though we have a president itching to sign a DOMA repeal, the one thing standing in the way is the U.S. House. But if anti-marriage Democrats take back the House in 2012, retain control of the Senate, and president Obama is re-elected, there will be virtually nothing standing in the way of a full repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act.
That’s why elections matter.
So, what can you do to help protect marriage? Make sure you vote for candidates in 2012 who will uphold the definition of marriage.