Saturday, May 17, 2008

The Day After

I hate to spoil the California gay marriage ruling party, but...

If you've read my book, You Can Run, you know I had a boyfriend (Walter) from Argentina. At the time (2001) the idea of gay marriage wasn't a remote dream. Had it been later, I would've probably married him. How different my life right now might be! But wait--and I write this because I'm not sure if you knew--even if I married Walter in Massachusetts in 2008 (or now California), the federal government would not recognize it.

If we married, Walter could still not (in 2008) live with me in the United States. In the Defense of Marriage Act, (signed by Clinton) the federal government refuses to recognize gay marriages granted by individual states.

Take the case of Tim and Genesio, a gay couple who "married" in Massachusetts in 2005. The thing is, Genesio is foreign born. So when his visa ran out, Genesio had to leave the country. What makes matters worse is this: his "marriage" to Tim supported the federal government's case that he intended to reside permanently in the United States, so they refused to grant him a new entry visa.

The federal government has legally separated this married couple!

-- and how many other couples where one of them is foreign born? Even if the both grooms, or both lesbian brides are American, they cannot file joint federal tax returns. Gays are the only minority that the government actively discriminates against with respect to marriage. So all the Hillary/Obama speech about "letting the states decide marriage" is just hooey. It's already been decided.

Until DOMA is repealed, there is no true gay marriage.

In addition, as most of us (Dame Daxx, I hear you) are well aware, it's another election year. The California decision is a boon to McCain, so will we have a repeat of 2004? Will the bible beating conservatives swarm to success in 2008? Should the courts have waited, should Tim and Genesio have waited, should we all wait until the time is right? That's almost like saying Obama shouldn't be the democratic nominee because it'll incite the racism of the conservative base. Or Hillary, because a strong woman polarizes people. As I've said before, there's never a wrong time for the right decision.

We are in the midst of a civil rights battleground. These are contentious, but exciting times.

7 comments:

Dame Daxx said...

Jesse, you can count me out of this fight this year.

At a time when we face real grown up problems from warming to wars, I don't want to jeopardize the chance to elect an effective president, just because a few Beverly Hills swishers want their big day in pink taffeta frocks.

Benjamin said...

This is why I wish Dennis Kucinich was our president. As much as I want Obama or Hillzilla...err Hillary to be in the W-house, I don't see either of them taking any initiative whatsoever on DOMA. They're all talk and no action. What are your thoughts on applying for Canadian citizenship?

Anonymous said...

Jesse,

Bravo California! As a conservative Republican I applaud all advances in individual liberties over big government intervention. Where does government get the authority to dictate that 2 consenting adults may not marry. How many people know that it was Barry Goldwater who spoke out in favor of lifting the ban on gays in the military? Goldwater, the leading conservative of his day, stated: "that you don't need to be 'straight' to fight and die for your country; you just need to shoot straight." A year later, he expressed his disapproval of ALL discrimination against gays.
(Source: "Pure Goldwater", written by Barry Goldwater, Jr. and John Dean, 2008, page 369)
There is no question Mr. Conservative himself, if he was alive today, would support gay marriage and the repeal of DOMA.
Your friend, Jimmy

Tony said...

Hey Jesse -

The California Supreme Court decision may well add fuel to the religious right's anti-gay bonfire, but in regard to Senator Obama, it was already alight.
William Kristol, the neo-con pundit whose column appears in the NYT on Mondays, has listed Obama's statement that he respects the court's decision as a possible positive for McCain.
But conservative religious blogs were already on Sen. Obama's case about his opposition to The Defence of Marriage Act and his clearly stated intention to work for its repeal. So there's no doubt in my mind that they were going to link Obama to their favorite bete-noir, "the gay agenda" anyway.
So hopefully those interested in marriage equality, or just equal rights for all, will vote in greater numbers than the religious homophobes.
That makes Jimmy's comment above very encouraging.

Joe Moore said...

I can see where Dame Daxx has a point, there are big issues we have to deal with out there. But one that is the corner stone of our society is equality. War and warming are important to the human race, but equality is too. The more equality we fight for and get around this country, the better things get for human kind as well.

If we only ever focus on the "world issues" then there will always be something that will take precedence over civil rights. So we have to know how to balance our efforts in order to combat all injustices and inequalities in our lives. Don't put this on the back burner until global warming and war is solved, because they will never completely go away. They're a constant in one way or the other. We should focus on all issues, especially those with direct impact on the civil rights of tax paying, law-abiding citizens of this country.

RambleRedhead said...

I certainly agree with you on many points of this issue but I feel that we need to celebrate when we can and continue our fight for equality no matter what.

It truly saddens me when I hear stories about couples where one is from another country and are treated the way they have - so tragic.

I had talked with a gentleman who was in a 8 year relationship and his partner was from France and he was not able to stay in the US and so they moved to Canada and are very happy.

Mark in DE said...

Sadly, you're absolutely right about individual states' decisions for gay marriage not being supported by the federal govt.

If equal rights for African Americans were left up to the states, there'd still be legal slavery in the South. The federal govt needs to impose equal rights for GLBT people in every state.

Mark :-)