Monday, July 25, 2011

The DOMA Hearing! - Week 8

This week I attended the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the repeal of DOMA (aka the Defense of Marriage Act). Specifically, they were discussing the effects of DOMA on the lives of same-sex couples and S.B. 598, the Respect for Marriage Act. As the panelists spoke, sometimes I thought I was going to cry, gasp in shock, or jump out of my seat in outrage. Needless to say, one of the most important things I took from the lesbian and gay panelists were the huge financial an symbolic consequences of DOMA, which denies recognition of legal same-sex marriages on the federal level. As a result, same-sex couples can not be eligible to file joint tax returns, receive social security survivor benefits, or receive adequate health care. Just because of whom they love, lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals are treated as second-class citizens. DOMA reinforces discrimination on the federal level just as "separate but equal" did during the Civil Rights movement.

At one point, I remember how utterly speechless I was when one of the speakers in support of DOMA claimed that legalizing same-sex marriage would pave the way for polygamous relationships and for a "father to marry his daughter". He also added that "to protect the best interests of the child," he or she should be raised by a mother and a father specifically.

Considering this argument, is it then not fair to disallow the same financial benefits to children of same-sex couples as children of heterosexual couples? To disadvantage these children inherently robs them of basic protections and highlights some of the hypocrisy of aforementioned arguments against DOMAs repeal.

Anyways, I would like to close by congradulating all the happy same-sex couples in New York that were married this weekend! :)

~posted by Nicole Tay

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