The Rainbow Connection Wins
By Romeo Morales
Finally, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender can now claim their biggest gain in the history of their struggle for recognition with the landmark decision of the U.S. Supreme Court striking down the Defense of Marriage Act as unconstitutional.
The DOMA, which has discriminated against same-sex couples, has deprived them of federal benefits that normally are enjoyed by straight couples like filing joint tax returns, obtaining security death benefit and recognition of same-sex marriage for immigration purposes. DOMA recognizes marriage as only to one man and one woman.
With the new ruling, the federal government is mandated to provide same treatment to same-sex partners married legally under the laws of their states as what straight couples enjoy when DOMA was still in place. Expected to do the same is the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services for administering immigration benefits under immigration laws. Thus, a green card holder or a U.S. citizen can now petition their foreign-born spouse, bring their spouse to the U.S. soil on the basis of a family or employment-based petition or even use their marriage to rescue their spouse from imminent deportation. It is estimated that there are about 267,000 undocumented LGBT today. This new development is a great breather for them as they believe they cannot be separated anymore from the ones they love and care.
Today, the District of Columbia and 13 states allow same-sex marriages. With the downfall of DOMA and while the iron is hot, it is now incumbent upon those helping the rainbow connection to push through with the Respect for Marriage Act (RMA) in Congress that would relegate DOMA in the dustbin of history. The bill would declare all married couples in all 50 states, and of any gender composition, equal rights and equal benefits and equal protections, under federal law.
For the LGBT, it is a long fight. Many have already passed away without seeing the fruits of their labor. But the gays and lesbians movement are undaunted. They know their day will come. It has now come. And the DOMA is now the one under the bus.
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