Monday, 01 July 2013

Gay Activists Set Sights on Nationwide Legalization of Same-sex Marriage

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In light of the two Supreme Court rulings they view as precedents, homosexual activists are preparing to push for more same-sex marriage victories nationwide. The Hill reported that gay rights lobbyists plan to use the High Court's ruling against the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) to fight for legislation making homosexual partners eligible for federal tax and employment benefits in all fifty states — not just in the handful that have legalized same-sex partnerships as equal to traditional marriage.

The June 26 Supreme Court DOMA ruling struck down a key provision of the law barring “married” same-sex couples from receiving the same federal tax, health, and retirement benefits that traditional married couples enjoy. Under the ruling, if same-sex partners are “married” in a state that recognizes same-sex partnerships as legal marriage, then the federal government will recognize that marriage on the same basis as a traditional marriage. But homosexual activists insist that having homosexual marriages recognized in some states and not others is not enough, because it is presently not clear how the High Court ruling would be viewed in the 37 states that have legally defined marriage as only between a man and a woman.

Forcing those majority states to accept homosexual couples is the next battle, said gay activists. “What the Supreme Court basically did ... was put a stake in the heart of DOMA, but it didn’t kill DOMA yet,” Jo Deutsch of the homosexual activist group Freedom to Marry told The Hill. Totally overturning all of DOMA is the goal, she said.

Fred Sainz of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), another homosexual group, said it would be inefficient to try to overturn the marriage defense amendments one by one in those states where the majority of voters believe marriage should be defined traditionally, “Eventually this will have to be settled by the Supreme Court,” he said with every confidence that the High Court would eventually rule that homosexual relationships are equal to marriage in every state.

Outside the Supreme Court building after the ruling, HRC's president Chad Griffin expressed his hope that same-sex marriage would be a legal reality nationwide in the next five years. “Federal recognition for lesbian and gay couples is a massive turning point for equality, but it is not enough until every family is guaranteed complete access to the protections they need regardless of state borders,” said Griffin. He insisted that the Obama Administration “must take every possible step to ensure this landmark ruling treats every lawfully married couple across the country with the equality our Constitution guarantees.”

Jonathan Rauch of the liberal Brookings Institution chided the High Court for its refusal to extend its DOMA ruling to all 50 states, saying that by “refusing to override those majorities, the court green-lighted the continuation, probably for a decade or more, of state-by-state battles over marriage.”

Similarly Evan Wolfson of pro-gay Freedom to Marry group implored the Obama administration to step in and provide a “clear and consistent” standard that would override the laws of those states that have chosen to protect traditional marriage. “Marriage should not flutter in and out like cellphone service,” Wolfson said as quoted by the Associated Press. “When it comes to federal programs, even if states are discriminating, the federal government should not.”

Meanwhile, a group of Republican lawmakers, led by Rep. Tim Huelskamp (Kansas), have introduced a defense of marriage amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which reads, simply: “Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution, nor the constitution of any State, shall be construed to require that marriage or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon any union other than the union of a man and a woman.”

“A narrow radical majority of the court has, in my opinion, substituted their personal views for the constitutional decisions of the American voters and their elected representatives,” Huelskamp said as justification for the amendment which, thankfully, has no chance of passage. (The New American has offered a number of articles explaining the present dangers inherent in the federal amendment process.)

Among the amendment proposal's House co-sponsors (all Republican), who see the action as a way of positioning themselves as pro-traditional marriage, are: Joe Barton (Texas), Jim Bridenstine (Okla.), Mo Brooks (Ala.), Paul Broun (Ga.), Jeff Duncan (S.C.), John Fleming (La.), Trent Franks (Ariz.), Louie Gohmert (Texas), Ralph Hall (Texas), Andy Harris (Md.), Randy Hultgren (Ill.), Sam Johnson (Texas), Walter Jones (N.C.), Jim Jordan (Ohio), James Lankford (Okla.), Mark Meadows (N.C.), Randy Neugebauer (Texas), Steven Palazzo (Miss.), Stevan Pearce (N.M.), Robert Pittenger (N.C.), Joe Pitts (Pa.), David Schweikert (Ariz.), Bill Shuster (Pa.), Chris Smith (N.J.), Steve Stockman (Texas), Tim Walberg (Mich.), Lynn Westmoreland (Ga.), and Frank Wolf (Va.).

On the same-sex marriage side, homosexual lobbyists are pushing their own legislation, the “Respect for Marriage Act, which, notes The Hill, “would fully repeal DOMA and ensure that 'state of ceremony' takes precedence over 'state of residence' when the government decides whether a gay couple is eligible for tax breaks, entitlement benefits, and other federal programs.” That legislation was introduced hours after the Supreme Court announced its DOMA ruling with Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) leading 160 co-sponsors in the House, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) introducing the bill with 39 co-sponsors in the Senate.

Before the Supreme Court's decision, Eric Teetsel of the Manhattan Declaration, a grassroots movement of Orthodox, Catholic, and evangelical Christians advocating the sanctity of life, marriage, and religious liberty, noted that regardless of how the High Court ruled, America is in the throes of a moral and religious meltdown that will not be remedied overnight. “It took generations to erode marriage and family, with disastrous consequences,” he said. “Restoration may take just as long.” He added that regardless of past or future court actions or the strategies of same-sex marriage proponents, his group — along with many other faithful Americans — would continue to “rededicate ourselves to renewing in American culture the profound beauty, mystery and holiness of faithful marriage.”

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