The Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD) announced at a press conference today that they filed "the first concerted, multi-plaintiff lawsuit to challenge the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)" in federal district court.
GLAD plans to file suit March 3 in the Federal District Court of Massachusetts, challenging provisions in section three of DOMA that bar the federal government from granting certain protections to legally married same-sex couples.
If successful the suit would overturn only those specific provisions of DOMA, not the entire statute, which prevents federal recognition of any same-sex marriage and also allows states to deny recognition of same-sex marriages performed in other states.
The marriage fight has cost me dearly in Indiana. I've lost jobs. I've lost an apartment and been denied others. I've been beaten with a crowbar and gang raped by men who called me "faggot" and "queer" over and over and over to the point where I still here them in my sleep. And there's not a damned thing I can do about it because our state legislature is still focused on keeping the queers from getting married - something we neither asked nor demanded - instead of moving the ball forward on discrimination and basic human rights.
So, kudos to an east coast state that already has marriage. I'll bend over now; coastal states seem to all be tops.
One Step Forward and Two Steps Back
It couldn't come at a worse time for Indiana. We just staved off a marriage amendment with the logic by our House Speaker that we already had a DOMA law and there's been no challenge federally. The general strategy was, "If they were challenging it nationally, it'd be a different story because then the judges would have control." The session isn't over yet and there's plenty of time next year to revisit that bit of legislation too.
Mary Bonauto had better not make this one of those "rare" cases because it's going to knock out our "rare" win for hate crimes and employment protections. We have a chance of finally passing those now that the focus was taken off of marriage for the first time in almost 10 years but as soon as this hits the local papers we're screwed. Focus back on f--king marriage again.
Even all of the work I've done with Indiana towns and cities to pass non-discrimination ordinances is honestly useless; they can't be enforced because of the state law which says that local government can't go beyond the protections offered by the state. Companies don't even have to respond to a complaint or notice by a human rights commission if it's LGBT-related.
And when there's a chance of gay weddings in Indiana, why bother helping the gays and being seen as gay friendly? Remember - New England Republicans are our Democrats. Look at ENDA. What other state had a majority of Democrats - of which the majority wouldn't vote for ENDA and were behind the "dump trans people" brigade? Obama may have turned us blue for him, but not blue enough for that.
You know what I thought when the "news" broke that Hawaii might get civil unions? Might?!? They got us into the damned problem to start with and now they might finally get civil unions? GLAD's going after one portion? We're going for the right to life and liberty before the right to happiness.
That one portion isn't without cost. My concerns on the mailing list generated a reply that read:
this sounds painfully familiar. when the marriage case in MA was first being tried, everyone had a fit here. we can't do that! no no no!
There's a reason why what you're hearing is familiar to you. Perhaps, someone will actually listen. Because there's consequences to GLAD's actions that they don't have to live with. We do. We pay with our blood, our money, our time, our energy, and our security.
When the next kid is beat up for being too nelly and nothing happens other than a slap on the wrist? When the butch lesbian loses her job in this economy with double digit unemployment rates? I'll tell them it sounds "painfully familiar," but GLAD is going after section 3 of DOMA so sit back and enjoy the show.
The Myopic Focus on Marriage
As a movement we've focused on marriage quite a bit. Almost every national group helped in some sort with Prop 8. Almost every state has had folks on the ground locally trying to stop their state's amendment - without luck. Coastal states keep pushing the ball forward for marriage.
But when do some of those orgs help those of us who can still get fired for being LGBT? Or denied housing? Or even public accommodations? Or hate crimes protections? All four have happened - repeatedly - here in the past year. And not a damned peep from any of the national groups on how to help us get the basic rights that a lot of the our readers take for granted every day.
Where's the coastal and national groups saying, "We're not free until we're all free." and sending us some help organizing, fundraising and lobbying? Where's the millions of dollars spent to allow a small portion of one state's queer folks to get hitched? Or hell, 1/10th of that cash...
Where's the planning sessions on helping out flyover country states? Where's the e-mails on those mailing lists? Where's the shout back to middle America that Harvey Milk gave? Remember, the kids he talked about in his speeches came from my area and he was there to help - and not just help us get married but to have some damned dignity and basic recognitions.
This isn't help. This is hurt. And, personally? I'm glad some folks can get married. Good for them; they're lucky. I fought for them both nationally and I fought for myself locally because of them.
Now someone stand up for us for once. I'm tired of us being the whipping post.