OK, kiddo! Here are all the fantastically amazing posts tagged with Defense of marriage act
The United States’ Department of Homeland Security has proposed finally lifting restrictions requiring same-sex couples to fill out separate customs declarations.
Currently, heterosexual families are allowed to fill out one customs declaration per household, while same-sex couples are treated as if they were strangers that happen to be on the same flight. This discrepancy is a direct result of the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act, which forbids any federal recognition of same-sex partnerships.
Treating same-sex families as, well, families is estimated to save two million dollars as the procedure is streamlined.
There’s no word yet on whether this new procedure will apply to foreign (i.e. Canadian) same-sex couples entering the United States, but if it does, we may be able to start using the phrase “land of the free” in relation to the U.S. without using air quotes and chuckling.
A US federal court has ruled that the country’s Defense of Marriage Act—a law forbidding any federal recognition of same-sex relationships—is unconstitutional. Judge Jeffrey White, a Bush appointee, issued the ruling today on the basis that DOMA violates the constitution’s guarantees of equality. Congratulations, Americans: Your backwards prejudices are shedding faster than a traumatized mutt in July! (January in the southern hemisphere.)
A married lesbian couple has complained to the media after being forced to declare themselves as non-family members in order to enter the United States for a vacation.
Karen-Mary Perry and Andrina Perry were married back in 2008, and typically fill out a single US customs form whenever they travel. The forms indicate that “only one written declaration per family is required.” This time, however, they were forced to fill out the forms separately.
A spokesperson for US Customs and Border Protection said that they’re legally prohibited to recognize any same-sex marriages on official government forms due to the bizarrely titled Defense of Marriage Act, which passed in 1996. Canadian customs forms indicate that up to four people who live at the same address can share a form.
Personally, I find travelling to the states is a little like visiting a slightly slow relative. It’s generally nice to see them, even if they’re kind of backwards and a bit crazy. You just need to make a few concessions here and there because they’re genuinely catching on, albeit at a, uh, relaxed pace. (The latest statistics show slight majority support for equal marriage rights down there, and the number of states that recognize same-sex marriage is growing.)
Still, until they’re fully caught up, just add separate customs forms to the long list of other inconveniences you have to take care of when entering the US—like having to purchase temporary health insurance; opting for physical pat-downs or being bombarded by X-ray scanners upon entry; and just tolerating the overall atmosphere of paranoia.
Think of it as living like a local, or—if you prefer—travelling backwards in time. Also, considering we sent them Celine Dion once upon a time, it’s probably not that bad of a price to pay, right?
Here’s some encouraging news! The state of Massachusetts has launched a lawsuit against the United States government over the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The act, which passed in 1996, prevents states from giving gay couples over 1000 benefits that heterosexual couples already enjoy, including everything from spousal health insurance access to having veterans’ spouses share a burial plot. States that do not comply with the act will lose access to millions of dollars in funding for health care, social services, and other benefit causes.
Massachusetts, having finally noticed that DOMA is ridiculous, has launched the lawsuit on the grounds that DOMA infringes upon the state’s right to define marriage for itself, and forces it to discriminate against gay couples.
The text of the filing is very good:
Congress overstepped its authority, undermined states’ efforts to recognize marriages between same-sex couples, and codified an animus toward gay and lesbian people.
The suit adds that over 16,000 same-sex couples have wed in Massachusetts, noting that “the security and stability of families has been strengthened in important ways throughout the state.”
Way to go Massachusetts!
(Huge tip o’ the hat to James over at Gay Persons of Color for the story.)
- Mass. is 1st to fight US marriage law [Boston Globe]