I do not pretend to understand the moral universe; the arc is a long one, my eye reaches but little ways; I cannot calculate the curve and complete the figure by the experience of sight; I can divine it by conscience. And from what I see I am sure it bends towards justice.
— Theodore Parker – Of Justice and Conscience, 1853
Today was, by every measure, a historic day for gay men and women in every corner of the United States. Today the SCOTUS struck down section 3 of DOMA and found the defendants of California’s Proposition 8 lacked standing before the court.
I have been giddy all day. It almost feels surreal. This upcoming weekend is Seattle’s gay pride and it will be a spectaular celebration.
I’m not going go into detail about what this means (IANAL and you can Google as well as I can), but I wanted to hit the high points for those of you following along at home:
- Gays and lesbians who are married in any US state that allows it will have their relationship recognized by the federal government. They will file their federal taxes as “married”, spouses will have social security survival benefits, these couples can now get immigration benefits, and much more.1
- Gays and lesbians in California can once again marry — or will be able to very soon.
One very important thing that did not happen is having section 2 of DOMA struck down. Section 2 allows states that do not recognize same-sex marriages to refuse recognizing same-sex marriages from other states. So if you get married in Washington and move to Alabama, your marriage will not be recognized. “But what about the full faith and credit clause of the constitution?” you’re asking. Well, we’re asking that too and until section 2 of DOMA is repealed or struck down, we’re still stuck with that discrepancy.2 In the meant time, businesses in states that allow same-sex marriage have a firm leg up on recruiting LGBT talent over those that don’t. And trust me, they know this.
What I’m really hoping is that that we can now take a month to catch our breath, to revel in our newfound equality. Then we can start anew on other far-reaching issues like a nation-wide employee non-discrimination act to prevent LGBT folks from being fired just because they’re gay. We can focus on LGBT youth organizations that help youth who have been kicked out of their homes because they came out to their parents. We continue to fight for marriage equality in those backwards states that haven’t seen the light.3
But for now, we celebrate.
1 For gays who marry in a state where it’s legal and move to a state where it isn’t, which federal rights you get will vary based on the agency.
2 Trust me, this is high on the list of the Gay Agenda.
3 Earlier today I wondered if it is more cost effective to help pay LGBT folks to relocate from states that don’t have same-sex marriage instead of financing the effort to change the state laws. I’d contribute money to help free LGBT folks from repressive, backward states like Texas.