The Crack in DOMA, A Celebration of LGBTQ Spirit
Spirit: the nonphysical part of a person that is the seat of emotions and character; the soul.
It’s Spirit Day everyone! Break out your purple, channel your inner Ravenclaw, and show your support for LGBTQ rights on this fine fall day. In perfect synchronicity, it’s also a huge day for the LGBTQ community that deserves a celebration for something major – DOMA has been ruled unconstitutional in New York. GLORIOUS win! I cannot imagine a better way to come together as a community to mark the silver lining in this staggering, uphill battle. However, let me backtrack. If you don’t know exactly what DOMA is, here is a little break down.
DOMA stands for “the Defense of Marriage Act”. It is a federal law that was signed by President Bill Clinton and passed by Congress in 1996 defining marriage as “the legal union of one man and one woman for federal and inter-state recognition purposes in the United Statest.” The law is exclusive; it specifically targets everyone who is not in a male-female relationship and puts limitations on whom one is allowed to love and how one is allowed to live. For example, DOMA does not recognize same sex marriages “for all federal purposes”. So, if you are a federal employee in a same sex marriage, your spouse would not be able to be on your health plan or any type of insurance. If you are a federal employee in a same sex marriage, your spouse would have no access to your Social Security after you died. If you are a federal employee in a same sex marriage, you would not be able to file a joint tax return and save a considerable amount of income. DOMA is problematic on so many levels, from a deeply personal level to a daily living level.
And here is where EqualityFTW comes banging and clanging into the world. Yesterday, a federal appeals court in New York believes that “gay Americans are a class of people who deserve the same kinds of constitutional protections as many other victims of discrimination”, according to the New York Times. This is a huge ruling, one of a series that will possibly go to the Supreme Court in a matter of months. Five cases, including those in states such as Boston and California, are waiting to go to trial under the Supreme Court – and this case is the whipped cream on top of the cake. In a state so populous and vibrant as New York, it will add to the levity and necessity of the Supreme Court taking up the issue. The fight for equality has only just begun!
So, what can you do today? Show your support! Use “constant vigilance”, as Moody would say. If we work together and brave the storm, we all will prevail. Don your purple and reflect on what it means to be spirited. Remember that all humans have souls, that we are all emotional beings, and we are all important and invaluable to this world. Show support for that, if nothing else.