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OutServe Magazine | October 25, 2014

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Supreme Court to hear DOMA, Prop. 8

Supreme Court to hear DOMA, Prop. 8
Aaron Testa






By Aaron Testa

WASHINGTON (Dec. 7, 2012) – Since the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” thousands of service members have been able to enjoy the freedom of serving our nation openly without fear of being discharged for their sexuality. There is one issue, however, that continues to evidence blatant discrimination among many of the LGBT women and men who serve the United States Armed Forces: the Defense of Marriage Act.

The Defense of Marriage Act or DOMA was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Clinton in 1996. The law has since defined marriage as the legal union between one man and one woman. This means that in the eyes of the Federal Government, same-sex marriage cannot exist and since federal laws govern our military, same-sex marriages will not be recognized by the military until DOMA is repealed.

That is why today is such an historic day and one that offers great hope for the future of same-sex marriage. For the first time ever, the Supreme Court has decided to hear challenges to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and California’s same-sex marriage ban, Proposition 8. The decision to grant cert. was announced and the court will likely take up the issue in March with a decision by June.

In her statement in response to today’s announcement, Army Veteran and OutServe-SLDN Executive Director, Allyson Robinson, expressed confidence that this law, like ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ “will be relegated to the dustbin of history where it belongs.”

Even though men and women in uniform are no longer discharged for being gay, they continue to face unequal treatment because of DOMA.

“The harm done to our brave service members and their families, and to our national security, by the Defense of Marriage Act is unconscionable. These are American patriots making the same sacrifices, providing the same service, and taking the same risks as their straight counterparts. They should not be treated as second class citizens,” said Robinson.

The Supreme Court will address a number of questions that include whether states can ban same-sex marriage, whether all couples have a constitutional right to marry and whether same-sex spouses should have access to the same federal benefits provided to straight spouses.

With today’s decision, there is hope that like DADT, DOMA will soon be a thing of the past and every American regardless of his or her sexuality will be afforded the same freedom to commit in the eyes of the law to the one they love and receive the same rights, benefits and protections as opposite-sex married couples.