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social sciences

Alpha Index:  A-B  C-F  G-K  L-Q  R-S  T-Z

Subjects:  A-E  F-L  M-Z

     
Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)  
 
page: 1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  

The campaign issued a number of well-made videos that emphasized the generalized harm that Amendment One would cause. Most of these videos barely mentioned gay and lesbian people. Others in effect endorsed a ban on same-sex marriage but said Amendment One "goes too far."

The strategy was fatally flawed. It conceded too much and it gave the impression that our own campaign was ashamed of gay and lesbian people. It suggested that the collateral damage done to unmarried heterosexual couples was a greater affront than the ban on same-sex marriage itself.

Sponsor Message.

The message was inauthentic from the beginning. Our mobilizing against Amendment One in reality had little or nothing to do with the collateral damage and everything to do with the ban on same-sex marriage.

In contrast to our obfuscation, our opposition defined the question clearly: for them Amendment One was about homosexuality and it was intended to punish gay men and lesbians and to devalue their relationships.

Indeed, for our opponents, the entire campaign was about sin. They unleashed a campaign that can be described only as disgusting. It was utterly unrestrained by any sense of decency. They made no pretense of conducting a civil campaign about policy issues. For them, it was an expression of religious belief. A vote for Amendment One was a vote for Jesus.

Unfortunately, our official campaign was too timid to respond vigorously to the opposition's frank bigotry. Besides, to do so would be "off message," since our side continued the pretense that the campaign was not about homosexuality.

We should have forthrightly defended same-sex marriage. We should have said that same-sex marriage was itself good, good both for same-sex couples and good for the institution of marriage. We should have insisted that it was unfair and unAmerican to deny citizens equal rights.

Marriage equality advocates have had scant success in challenging state DOMAs in state courts. However, the blatant animus and the clear religious tenor of the campaign for Amendment One in North Carolina may offer an opportunity to challenge its constitutionality.

In addition, as the November 2012 election proved, the tide may have turned in terms of popular acceptance of same-sex marriage. In the November 2012 election, not only did two states--Washington and Maryland--ratify marriage equality laws that had passed state legislatures, but one state--Maine--adopted same-sex marriage as the result of a referendum. In addition, Minnesota voters repealed a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. (Not surprisingly, in the legislative session following the November 2012 election, the Minnesota legislature passed a marriage equality law.)

Moreover, the resounding decision declaring the federal DOMA unconstitutional in the Windsor case should offer powerful ammunition to challenge the constitutionality of state DOMAs in both state and federal courts.

Claude J. Summers

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    Bibliography
   

Barr, Bob. "No Defending the Defense of Marriage Act." Los Angeles Times (January 5, 2009): http://articles.latimes.com/2009/jan/05/opinion/oe-barr5

"Bereaved Spouse Challenges Defense of Marriage Act as Unconstitutional." www.aclu.org (November 8, 2010): http://www.aclu.org/lgbt-rights/bereaved-spouse-challenges-defense-marriage-act-unconstitutional

B[onin], Adam. "Federal Court Holds DOMA Unconstitutional." Daily Kos (July 8, 2010): http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2010/7/8/882745/-Federal-Court-Holds-DOMA-Unconstitutional

Egelko, Bob. "Court Win for Same-Sex Couples Seeking Benefits." SFGate (January 20, 2011): http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/01/19/BACC1HBOSN.DTL&tsp=1

Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders. "Frequently Asked Questions Regarding the Decisions in Gill v. Office of Personnel Management and Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. Department of Health and Human Services." www.glad.org (November 12, 2010): http://www.glad.org/uploads/docs/publications/gill-decision-faq.pdf

_____. "Pederson et al. v. Office of Personnel Management et. al.: Frequently Asked Questions." www.glad.org (November 9, 2010): http://www.glad.org/uploads/docs/publications/pedersen-v-opm-faq.pdf

Galloway, Jim. "Bill Clinton Drops Opposition to Same-Sex Marriage." Political Insider. Atlanta Journal Constitution (July 14, 2009): http://blogs.ajc.com/political-insider-jim-galloway/2009/07/14/bill-clinton-drops-opposition-to-same-sex-marriage/?cxntfid=blogs_political_insider_jim_galloway

Keen, Lisa. "DOMA Decisions Released: Two Huge Victories for Marriage Equality." Bay Windows (July 8, 2010): http://www.baywindows.com/index.php?ch=news&sc=glbt&sc2=news&sc3=&id=107807

Leonard, Arthur S. "California DOMA Challenge Advances." Gay City News (January 23, 2011): http://www.gaycitynews.com/articles/2011/01/23/gay_city_news/news/doc4d3c863a1db2f979394076.txt

_____. "DOMA Section 3 Held Unconstitutional by Federal Judge in Massachusetts." Leonard Link (July 8, 2010): http://newyorklawschool.typepad.com/leonardlink/2010/07/page/3/

Savage, Charlie. "Suits on Same-Sex Marriage May Force Administration to Take a Stand." New York Times (January 28, 2011): http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/29/us/politics/29marriage.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&ref=samesexmarriage

Schwarz, John. "Gay Couples to Sue Over Defense of Marriage Act." New York Times (November 8, 2010): http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/09/us/09marriage.html

 

    Citation Information
         
    Author: Summers, Claude J.  
    Entry Title: Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
 
    Publication Date: 2011  
    Date Last Updated July 9, 2013  
    Web Address www.glbtq.com/social-sciences/defense_of_marriage_act.html  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
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Chicago, IL   60607
 
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    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2011 glbtq, Inc.  
 

 

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