Analysis, discussion and opinions by members of Newsday's editorial board.
BloggersAlvin Bessent Rita Ciolli Michael Dobie Joseph Dolman Lane Filler Sam Guzik Anne Michaud Larry Striegel
Defending DOMA is folly
People who resist the expansion of freedom in this country lose. They may notch temporary victories, but in the long haul they don’t prevail — not on civil rights or women’s rights, and they won't on gay rights.
Oblivious to that lesson of history, House Republicans are fighting to preserve the discriminatory federal Defense of Marriage Act that defines marriage as the union between one man and one woman. They announced last week they’ll appeal a decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston striking down the law.
The court ruled the act unconstitutional for denying federal benefits to same sex couples married in the District of Columbia or one of the six states, including New York, where such unions are legal. At stake are benefits such as the right to family health insurance coverage for federal employees and the right to an annuity normally available to surviving spouses. Other cases have challenged denying Social Security survivors benefits for same sex spouses; and barring joint income tax returns from same sex couples, which would lower their tax burden.
Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and House Republicans stepped in to defend the indefensible law when the Obama administration took the principled stance that it won’t.
Maybe pushing the case to the U.S. Supreme Court will provide a service for the nation by seeing the issue through to its ultimate resolution. The injustice of denying legally married same sex couples federal benefits legally married opposite sex couples enjoy is so obvious it should go without saying.
Pictured Above: House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio)