Last week's events have everyone in a flurry amongst celebrations and momentous decisions being made. The repeal of DOMA, immigration reform, the NSA scandal and Vladimir Putin stealing a Super Bowl ring from Robert Kraft have all been topics circulating in the news recently, making it difficult to focus on a single one's cause and effect.
The monumental ruling of the Supreme Court last Wednesday was a huge step forward in the movement of gay rights, but the fight is not over yet. It is just one step on a long road to equal rights. Here is the break down of everything you need to know about DOMA.
What is DOMA?
DOMA is short for Defense of Marriage Act. It was passed in 1996 by Congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton. It states that the federal government does not recognize same-sex marriages that are legalized by states.This means if a same-sex couple were married in a state where same sex marriage is legally recognized, they would only be recognized by the state, not the federal government. This also means that same-sex couples are denied the same taxation, Social Security, and health insurance benefits as legally recognized heterosexual couples.
What was the Supreme Court's decision?
There were actually two major rulings. The first was the repeal of section three of DOMA, stating that federal law must recognize same-sex marriages by states that have legalized them, declaring section three unconstitutional. The second was effectively allowing same-sex marriage in California by denying a request to halt the overturn of Proposition 8, a ruling that had previously banned same-sex marriage in California.
What does this mean?
Same-sex couples now hold the same rights and protection under the law as those joined in a heterosexual union. Previously denied benefits such as health insurance, retirement savings, veterans' benefits, hospital visitation rights, to name a few, will be granted to same-sex couples. All federal benefits will be granted to those married in states where same-sex marriage is recognized.
By denying a request to decide on the constitutional validity of Proposition 8 in California, its appeal was put to a halt and the ban on same-sex marriages in California was lifted. This made headlines because as the most populous state in the country, California is now the 13th state that allows same-sex marriages.
While the repeal of DOMA is cause enough to celebrate, the fight for equal rights is not over. The Supreme Court struck down DOMA and made the federal government responsible for recognizing those same-sex marriages conducted in states where it is legal. It did not declare same-sex marriage a constitutional right, nor did it require all states to recognize same-sex marriage. So while same-sex couples' marriages are recognized by 13 states and the federal government, there are still 37 states where their marriages are not legally recognized. Those states are not required to lift a ban on same-sex marriage.
Under current law, marriage is an issue of state law and there is no federal system for deciding the marriage laws of individual states. Those in favor of gay rights propose a common solution: making same-sex marriages conducted in one state legal and recognized in all states.
With the repeal of DOMA, there is no doubt that we are working towards the goal of marriage equality. There is much more to be done, but this step is a monumental moment in history.
School, major and year: A&S, Economics, 2015
HometownRancho Cucamonga, California
What makes the Gavel so BANGin’? We keep it fresh. It’s drippin with swagger and is home to some of the coolest cats on campus. The Gavel is always fun and I’ve met nothing short of amazing people and writers here.
You have 24 hours to give prospective students a tour of BC and convince them to enroll. How do you spend the day? I’d start by getting some coffee and a personalized omelet at Mac. Then we’d go lose our voices at a football game and wear our super awesome Superfan shirts. We would then go see one of the amazing Acapella groups perform. We’d get some Mac N Cheese from the Rat for lunch. We would go see My Mother’s Fleabag for an awesome good time. Then we’d take a break and visit the dorms (i.e. sit in my room and watch Mean Girls…because Mean Girls.). We would then go to a hockey game, then to the Mods, and end the night at Late Night.
If you could go back in time and give yourself a pep talk the night before you moved into BC as a freshman, what is the most important piece of advice that you would give to your former self? Eat your vegetables and take a lot of pictures.
What is your favorite study spot on campus? The Rat
What is your go-to meal at Late Night? That delicious Simply Orange juice the dining halls always have stocked. This and a personal pizza topped with ketchup. Judge all you want, but ketchup on pizza is the best thing to happen since Game of Thrones.
What is the #1 most played song on your iTunes? “I Always Knew” by the Vaccines
What is the best Halloween costume that you have ever worn? I was Minnie Mouse as a kid. Not trying to brag, but I rocked the ears off that costume.
If you could only eat at one restaurant for the rest of your life, which would you choose? Del Taco
If you could befriend the main characters from any TV show or movie, who would you choose and why? Easy. Harry Potter. (I’m assuming) I’d get to go to Hogwarts, be a wizard AND be friends with Harry, Ron, and Hermione. It’s a win win, for me anyway. If I can’t be a wizard then i’d be friends with the main characters from This Is The End.