After watching the closing arguments of the Proposition 8 trial on CSPAN yesterday, I was baffled that a huge issue was allowed to go unnoticed. Judge N. Randy Smith, the most conservative of the three panel judges of the 9th Circuit court, said that California laws (of domestic partnership) already give virtually all the same laws of marriage to gay couples. This is simply and utterly untrue.
More than 1,049 legal rights are conferred upon heterosexual married couples in the United States. Therefore, supporters of Prop 8 have TAKEN AWAY ONE THOUSAND FOURTY NINE RIGHTS from a group of minority tax-paying United State citizens.
Why not Civil Unions or Domestic Partnership rather than gay marriage?
Civil Unions exist in only a handful of places such as Vermont, New Jersey and Connecticut. California and Oregon have domestic partnership laws that offer some of the same rights as civil unions, but it is vastly different from heterosexual marriage. MOST of the rights given at the Federal level for marriage are not included in Civil Unions or Domestic Partnerships for gay couples. There are only several hundred rights that are recognized at the state level, compared to the majority of rights that are unrecognized. Civil unions and Domestic Partnerships DO NOT allow (not a full list of differences):
1. Joint parental rights of children
2. Joint adoption
3. Status as “next-of-kin” for hospital visits and medical decisions
4. Right to make a decision about the disposal of loved ones remains
5. Immigration and residency for partners from other countries
6. Crime victims recovery benefits
7. Domestic violence protection orders
8. Judicial protections and immunity
9. Automatic inheritance in the absence of a will
10. Public safety officers death benefits
11. Spousal veterans benefits
12. Social Security
14. Joint filing of tax returns (state joint filing is audited against the unrecognized federal)
15. Wrongful death benefits for surviving partner and children
16. Bereavement or sick leave to care for partner or children
17. Child support
18. Joint Insurance Plans
19. Tax credits including: Child tax credit, Hope and lifetime learning credits
20. Deferred Compensation for pension and IRAs
21. Estate and gift tax benefits
22. Welfare and public assistance
23. Joint housing for elderly
24. Credit protection
25. Medical care for survivors and dependents of certain veterans
WHY are marriage rights not given to gays and lesbians within civil unions and domestic partnerships?
Even when gay marriage was legal in California, there were still hundreds of rights not given to gay married couples that are given to heterosexual married couples. This is because the state recognizes laws that are not recognized at the Federal level due to the Defense of Marriage Act (D.O.M.A) which was instated by former President Clinton on September 21, 1996. In summary, D.O.M.A states that marriage is to be recognized only between a man and a woman. Although states are given the authority to allow same-gender marriage, the union is only recognized at a state level and all Federal benefits are forfeited.
Why is protesting Prop 8 important in all states?
This is not just a state issue. The United States Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause forbids taking away rights and privileges from any citizen. By taking away the right for same-sex couples to marry is taking away rights from one particular group of people which is unconstitutional. Because same-sex marriage is only recognized in a small handful of states, the majority of the United States is denying its citizens of rights which is wrong and should be corrected just as history has done in the past with interracial marriage. We are all citizens and should be seen as equal.
The basic argument for same-sex marriage is outlined in the Fourteenth Amendment to the UNITED STATES Constitution (not just State constitution!):
14th Amendment, Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
PROP 8 IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL BECAUSE IT TOOK AWAY FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT(S) FROM A SPECIFIC GROUP OF PEOPLE (gays/lesbians.)
In closing, I am urging education to those who are unaware that civil unions and domestic partnerships fall majorly short of marriage. These rights that are not given to gay couples are a clear indication of discrimination of a class of individuals. Remember that 1,049 rights are not given to gay couples due to the inability to marry. Voters of Prop 8 did not just take away one right, but over a thousand rights. Please pass this information on to others.
Gays and God
It is no secret that the reason that most Americans are against same-sex marriage is because of what the Bible appears to say about homosexuality. What most Christians are unaware of is that there are a growing number of theologens that have unveiled the original old awareness into these passages that reveal that these verses were speaking directly of male-to-male prostitution, male-to-male rape, and male-to-male sex in idol worship rituals. In this context, we see that the Bible is not condemning gays and lesbians as a whole, but condemning certain acts within homosexuality. Just as the Bible condemns heterosexual adultery and incest, it does not condemn all heterosexuals. For an in depth study on these passages, please visit: http://turn.to/gaychristians