Just to preface, I’m not picking on anyone – this is a post I’ve been meaning to make for quite some time.
I’ve heard a couple of times, “Why should I care if I can’t marry my same-sex partner?” Well, in 1996, following the passage of the inanely-titled Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), Rep. Henry Hyde requested that the General Accounting Office prepare a report to determine the federal laws that are affected by the legislation – that is, those which are triggered by “marriage” or relating to a “spouse”. The result is a collection of 1,049 federal laws classified to the United States Code in which marital status is a factor in thirteen categories.
Here is a summary of the report. It’s a lot of material, but even if you just skim it you start to get a feeling for what’s at stake. Plus, you’ll have a little ammunition the next time someone asks you why they should care about same-sex marriage. For my part, I don’t care if it’s called marriage, civil unions, or purple tomatoes. I do care that whatever arrangement is arrived at is equal and identical to the benefits conferred by heterosexual marriage. It’s going to be a hard road to get there, but I believe that this is an achievable goal, one that we will see in my lifetime.