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Massachusetts Courts Uncle Sam

By Lavender July 17, 2009

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As far as I’m concerned, the gay marriage thing is a done deal, and it’s just a matter of time. The latest: On July 8, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts sued the US government over the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), maintaining that the law violates the US Constitution by interfering with Massachusetts’s right to define the marital status of its citizens.

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, who filed the suit, wrote, “Congress, in enacting DOMA, undermined states’ efforts to recognize marriages between same-sex couples, and codified an animus towards gay and lesbian people.”

As to reaction in Washington, the online Boston Globe reported, “Charles Miller, a spokesman for the US Justice Department, said: ‘The president supports legislative repeal of the defense of marriage act because it prevents LGBT couples from being granted equal rights and benefits. We will review this case.’”

In addition to Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, New Hampshire, Maine, and Vermont all allow or soon will have same-sex marriage, while California, despite the passage of Proposition 8 last November, recognizes the validity of the marriages of 18,000 same-sex couples wed prior to its passage. New York and Rhode Island, as well as the District of Columbia, recognize same-sex marriages from Massachusetts, while quixotically not permitting their own gay citizens to wed.

Ironically, in the July 13 Time Magazine cover story, “Is There Hope for the American Marriage?” Caitlin Flanagan bemoans the undermining of the American institution, not by the specter of same-sex unions, but by the reluctance to commit, the willingness to break up under pressure, and the widespread infidelity of the very heterosexual individuals waving the banner of family sanctity.

The article cites studies showing the importance of a two-parent (one of whom is male) family, and the widespread havoc divorce and infidelity wreak on offspring.

There was no mention of same-sex marriages, and there may not be statistics on this particular point yet, but I believe that a prime advantage of a couple—of any sex or gender—raising children is to offer kids the bulwark of a team, devoted to them and to each other, united to provide ongoing love and discipline through good times and bad.

In these parlous times, does it pay to limit the parental pool?

It is a start toward all citizens having a shot at stable family life that Massachusetts is challenging DOMA, which creates second-class citizens out of citizens of the Commonwealth.

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