One Gen Xer’s take on family values, marriage and DOMA

One Gen Xer’s take on family values, marriage and DOMA

This week the Supreme Court will tackle two huge issues, both of which will have far reaching implications for many in this nation. The first is the Defense of Marriage Act (commonly referred to as DOMA) which defined marriage as between a man and a woman. This Act was passed in 1996 by President Clinton, and was the Federal Governments first foray into the marriage issue. Prior to the passage of DOMA, marriage was strictly a states’ rights issue. This meant that states, like Vermont, could pass laws to recognize gay marriage in their state; conversely this also meant that if the voting public had the issue brought before them they could also ban it if they had the votes to do so. The second issue at hand is marriage equality.

Within the Republican Party there has been a growing divide on many issues, but none as stark as the issue of marriage equality. The major split is between the more religious, social conservatives (generally older) who are vociferously against it and the more libertarian, classic liberals (generally younger) who are passionately convinced that government has no place intruding into this most personal of issues.

As a member of Generation X, I am one of the many who simply do not understand why the Government needs to be involved in this issue. I remember watching the news with my best friend and coming to understand that my Government had just said while I could marry, he could not. This made no sense to me in 1996, and in the coming years, as I watched many friends start families and get married, it made even less sense.

One family I had the privilege to watch be created was a friend who fostered a six month old baby boy with her partner. After having the boy with them for six months, the two were so in love with him that they could not imagine life without him. They petitioned the state to adopt him, and his mother agreed. You see, his mother had given him to the state when she realized she could not afford to care for another child. If he had not been adopted by my friend and her partner, goodness only knows what would have happened to this sweet boy. Luckily, the court agreed and he got a family. Now, before you leap to the conclusion that this poor boy is at a disadvantage not having a male role model, nothing could be further from the truth. He has six uncles who are always around him to give him all the male role modeling a boy could ask for. He also has a home that surrounds him with love and offers him a much better life than he would have had floating through the system for God knows how long.

Many similar families are caught in this divide, as are many politicians with sons and daughters who are gay and lesbian. Even Dick Cheney has a stance on this issue. Mr. Cheney and his wife are for gay marriage and have appeared with their daughter, Mary who is a lesbian, in many PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) advertisements supporting marriage equality. Ohio Senator Rob Portman recently “came out” in favor of gay marriage due to his son’s recent admission that he is gay. Senator Portman made a completely logical appeal to the aforementioned social conservatives in the Republican Party that do not approve of marriage equality by pointing out that marriage is the building block of any civilized society. People who marry are more likely to own real property and have families, as homeowners married people pay more taxes since most are double income earners, and they support public schools with their property taxes. It benefits society to have more married people and families because it widens the tax base and lessens the burdens on society.

I would argue that it also behooves Republicans to recognize that we have been the party that has pushed the social envelope in the past on controversial issues. The Emancipation Proclamation is just one example of that. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is another. The fact that our party gave women the right to vote, and more recently gave this country its first Latina governor should not be overlooked when it comes to the issues of DOMA and marriage equality.

I am a Republican because I believe in the ideal of equality for all citizens regardless of their race, creed, religion, sexual persuasion, gender, ethnic background, age or veteran status. I am a Republican because I believe in marriage and family and societal stability. So, it only stands logically that I would be a Republican for marriage equality.

References
http://reason.com/archives/2013/03/19/the-federalist-case-against-the-defense
http://blog.pflag.org/2008/09/freedom-for-her-daughter.html
http://www.dol.gov/dol/topic/discrimination/

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6 Comments
  • PRode says:

    You say: “Prior to the passage of DOMA, marriage was strictly a states’ rights issue. This meant that states, like Vermont, could pass laws to recognize gay marriage in their state; conversely this also meant that if the voting public had the issue brought before them they could also ban it if they had the votes to do so.”

    Several errors here. Marriage still is a states rights issue, proven by the fact that Vermont in fact recognized gay marriage after DOMA was passed. DOMA didn’t change that. All that DOMA did was define marriage for federal government purposes.

    It was also not the federal government’s first foray into the marriage issue. Federal tax law has had definitions of marriage for years, and in some case that definition differs from state law. For instance, if you are separated, you cannot file a joint tax return even though you are still married for state law purposes. Immigration laws have similar definitions of marriage, that do not necessarily accept state law criteria.

    And what is marriage equality anyway? If the sole criteria for marriage is the desire for people to enter that state, then we should support polygamy. Worldwide, polygamy is much more common than same-sex marriage, and it is expressly endorsed by one of the leading religions. Our current president’s father was polygamous, and his last opponent’s ancestors were too. The president of South Africa and the leaders of a multitude of middle eastern countries are as well. Based purely on human history, marriage equality should be giving polygamy much more support that same-sex marriage.

  • Ron McCormick says:

    Logically and rationally you must favor polygamy being legal. The same arguments apply. If it is none of the government’s business who you love and two men should be able to marry, then why not two men and three women ?
    Almost nobody is suggesting the legalization of polygamy now. Can you possibly have any doubts that is what would be next though ?
    The mistake most libertarians make on the homosexual marriage idea is that they abandon their own principles. The first question any libertarian should ask about any law is, ” Do we really need it “? ” Is it truly essential to a peaceful, orderly society ? Should the government be involved at all ?” Does governmental recognition of heterosexual marriage have social benefits ? People obviously once thought it did since every society has marriage codes. Were they mistaken ? Does official sanction of homosexual liasons provide some similar benefit to society ? If you are going to insist it is a matter of rights and discrimination against homosexuals does that mean the government can’t take any cognizance of gender differences ? Do women and men have to be treated exactly the same ? Women’s rights and all that don’t you know.
    The arguments about married people owning real estate, being healthy, etc, are just plain silly. Those statistics are based on heterosexual couples. We have no idea whether they will apply to homosexual couples or not.
    Remember the “Scientific Method” you studied in junior high ? Develop and experiment designed to test the theory. Several Scandanavian countries have tried the experiment. Heterosexual marriage rate do go down while the percentage of chidren raised in single parent homes goes up when homosexual couples are granted legal recognition.

  • Rachel says:

    I can understand two adults wanting to engage in their own consenting relationships, but bringing a child into the social experiment is a whole ‘nuther ballgame. Children don’t get a choice.

    No matter how much two moms and half a dozen uncles love a child, they can’t replace a father. No matter how much two dads an a dozen aunts love a child, they can’t replace a mother. The two are not interchangeable and replaceable. If one is missing, they leave a hole that cannot be filled by any substitute.

    Growing Up With Two Moms: The Untold Children’s View
    http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2012/08/6065/

    I’m Gay and I Oppose Same-Sex Marriage For My Children’s Sake
    http://www.thepublicdiscourse.com/2013/03/9432/

  • VikingMomSD says:

    The Republican Party has two years and then additional two years to redefine and remind what the Party represents. Maybe this should be the first step.

  • Theophilus says:

    Marriage equality exists — any man or woman (homosexual or straight) is free to marry a woman or man, respectively. If gays don’t like the other gender and choose not to marry one of them, that’s their decision. What the author speaks of is redefining marriage into something it has never been in the history of civilization. An excellent, well-referenced article in defense of marriage is at http://winteryknight.wordpress.com/2011/06/27/a-secular-case-against-gay-marriage/. Three main points are 1. Same-sex marriage is bad for children, 2. Same-sex marriage is bad for civil society and business, 3. Same-sex marriage is bad for public health

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