Yesterday was a huge victory for the LGBT community, but for many of us in the "fly over" states, yesterday's decisions was... Empty. Allow me to give you some background and explain.
(Also forgive any text mistakes, doing this on an ipad.)
My "husband" and I live on the side of a mountain in the state of West Virginia. We work in the DC Metro area, for the US Government. Just before Prop 8 was enacted we took a trip to California and on Oct 16, 2008, we got married. This year we are celebrating our 19th anniversary together, 5 years of marriage. Did you notice the quotes around husband? Contrary to the news headlines, the SCOTUS did not rule that DOMA was unconstitutional. They stated that section 3 of said act was. Section 2 is still alive and well, making my husband my "husband".
Section 2 of DOMA does something quite interesting. It strips from LGBT ONLY their constitutional rights to fair faith and credit and equal protection by clearly stating that if a state does not want to give your lawfully enacted and legally binding contract (marriage license) weight, it does not have to. Ha ha ha, your not married!
Here is the text. (Bold is mine)
`No State, territory, or possession of the United States, or Indian tribe, shall be required to give effect to any public act, record, or judicial proceeding of any other State, territory, possession, or tribe respecting a relationship between persons of the same sex that is treated as a marriage under the laws of such other State, territory, possession, or tribe, or a right or claim arising from such relationship.'.Think about this. If a man and women goes to CA and get hitched while on vacation, when they fly home they are still married. She can go change her name at the DMV using her CA marriage license, he can add her to his employer health insurance because he as had a "life changing event". The exact same events play out, except it is is two men, or two women, and somewhere in the flight, they go from being your husband or your wife to being your "husband" or your "wife". Folks DOMA IS ALIVE AND STILL HARMING LGBT FAMILIES.
So let's be clear, the SCOTUS did not declare DOMA unconstitutional. It declared section 3 unconstitutional. The rest of this law is still kicking, and it hurts.
The fact is had the SCOTUS killed all of DOMA, the gay rights movement would have been 10 times more victorious than we are now, we could have moved into a position where we could say, "who cares if ~insert red state here~ does not allow gay marriage, I can still go to ~insert state here~ and get married and still be protected. And my state has no choice but accommodate it." To those that oppose gay marriage, that is a far bigger deal than federal rights, and many on that side have already stated that they are going to defend section 2 to the end of the earth.
The repeal of section 2 would render all of these bans and constitutional amendments defining marriage "functionally irrelevant". Is it perfect? Not at all. Is it an ideal situation? Hell no. But what it would be is a victory that would take all the sting out of the bee, it would render those hateful people's actions moot, and we would get the equal protection we are guaranteed. For there, one by one the states would fall, because their bans would be FUNCTIONALLY IRRELEVANT.
Today we celebrate, But I beg my LGBT friends who are now see the bulk of the fight behind them to remember there are those of us where yesterday has the potential to have changed nothing.
We need your voice. At this very moment, we are not equally protected.
All of DOMA must fall, and we must pressure the administration to resist the urge to separate us into "those that are married" and those that are "married".