Wednesday, June 26, 2013

DOMA Bites the Dust

I am not gay, I don't have many gay friends. What I am is a firm believer in equality.

The Supreme Court has just handed down a decision where gay married couples are entitled to the same benefits as straight married couples. Seems so simple doesn't it?

The Court has not said gay marriage should be the law of the land. That is a battle which continues state by state. What it does mean, is for gay couples already married, they have the same rights as straight couples for over 1100 provisions of Federal law. They can file joint tax returns, they are now considered next-of-kin... they are really equal.

I have tears in my eyes as I write this. In particular, I am thinking at the senior gay couples, who had waited for 20, 30, even 40 years for the right to marry, and are now allowed to make all decisions for their spouses health, living conditions and burial. Now too, they can receive Social Security benefits and inherit an estate with the same taxation as a straight couple.

The fight for marriage equality is not over. Same sex marriage is still not accepted in far too much of the country. I hope before too long, many of the senior gay couples will be granted the opportunity to marry. What bothers me the most is how great the inequality becomes when sickness is involved.

Too many times other family members are able to take control of the life decisions of an incapacitated relative, even someone with whom they had no contact for most of their lives. Can you imagine living with someone for your entire adult life and being barred from their hospital room during their last days.  Slowly, state by state this scene can no longer occur.

Now the Court has ruled on Prop 8 as well. It is a good day for equality.
It is a good day for America.