Many of my friends may have been seeing some posts lately on my Facebook about the Supreme Court of the United States’ (SCOTUS) pending decision relating to DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act). These posts relate to the SCOTUS reviewing a challenge to Section 3 of DOMA which “codifies the non-recognition of same-sex marriages for all federal purposes, including insurance benefits for government employees, Social Security survivors’ benefits, immigration, and the filing of joint tax returns” (Wikipedia).
So why is this important? For two reasons (to me).
First, the idea that there are thousands of married same-sex couples in this country that don’t have the same – or equal – rights as opposite-sex couples is wrong, and as it will hopefully soon be, unconstitutional. There are over 1,100 federal rights that a person receives when they are married (General Accounting Office). You read that right, over 1,100 rights, benefits and privileges.
Which brings me to the second, and more personal, reason. Repealing DOMA would recognize my marriage to Chris (at the federal level). This would provide a great deal of security to our future should we choose to stay in the United States longer term. Currently, I am required to re-apply for my work visa every two years. While I have never provided a reason for the US government not to renew my visa, it does create a huge amount of anxiety in our lives each time. The reality is that my visa is a privilege, and one that I cherish, as it provides me with the opportunity to work in a job I love, but also allows me to live my life with the man and pets that I adore (and my friends as well).
I am always surprised when I talk with friends or colleagues and their assumption is that the government already recognizes my relationship with Chris, and I’m either a citizen or here in some other (more permanent) status. They are surprised to learn about the need to re-apply for my visa every couple of years, the limitations of that visa, and the impact it has on our lives. For many, I’ve been around so long, that I’m just just like an old piece of furniture.
So I am hopeful that the SCOTUS takes a small step this week (tomorrow?) and determines that DOMA is not constitutional. For me and my family it would be a small blessing. While I love old furniture, I’d like to be more certain about our future.
For those that want to catch the opinions live, checkout SCOTUSBlog.