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Monday, June 24, 2013

Defense of Marriage Act Repeal

      For those of us who have been advocates for marriage equality this upcoming week, and maybe today, could be the time when the Supreme Court could make its ruling on the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act.  This ruling could be as big to the cause of civil rights in this country as the Brown v. Board of Education ruling in 1954.  There are few Supreme Court rulings that are seen as pivotal moments in our country's history of progressive change.  Unfortunately progress on this civil right has been left to unelected members of the judiciary, just like the 1954 ruling, because our elected members of Congress don't have the courage to legislate this long overdue change.
     Why is this change necessary?  There are 1138 federal benefits that are tied to married couples.  If DOMA were overturned these federal benefits would be provided to gay couples in states, like Maryland, that have marriage equality laws.  Marriage is defined by the states and in every case where states differ on defining marriage the federal government follows the state laws in regards to providing federal benefits----except with same sex marriage because of DOMA.
     Let's hope history is made this week.

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