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Saturday, April 6, 2013


DOMA: Why was it Enacted?

Some people might not know that much about the Defense of Marriage Act if it does not directly impact their lives. The issue of gay marriage has recently come back into the limelight with the Supreme Court holding hearings on two major LGBT issues. These rulings will have the potential to drastically change both straight and gay American citizen’s lives after the Judges decisions have been given out.

What is the Defense of Marriage Act? DOMA is a federal law that was enacted on Sept. 21, 1996, that does not recognize the legal union of gay marriage federally, even though the union is legal in their home state.

Why was it enacted? The Defense of Marriage Act was a direct response from a U.S. Congress in 1996 that was uneasy about the concept of gay marriages spreading across the entire United States and having to give same sex couples the same rights nationwide as traditional married couples. This fear was at its climax when a Hawaiian lawsuit in 1993, (Baehr v. Lewin) where three same sex couples filed a lawsuit after being denied marriage licenses.

What was being heard at the Supreme Court hearings? The Supreme Court will consider on whether the federal governments ban on same sex marriages is even legally constitutional. The high court will also hold hearings on California’s Proposition 8 which changed the California States Constitution in 2008, to only legally recognize a marriage as being defined as – solely between a man and a woman.

How does this ruling affect me? Well, whether you are gay, involved socially with gay people, or have one as a family member, how the American Government modernly, progressively, and fairly, redefines the basic unalienable rights that are to be accorded its citizens, truly effects us all.