Why We Can Be Happy About the DOMA Ruling

Yesterday the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a key provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act or DOMA, that which defines marriage as between a man and a woman, and spouses as heterosexual, is unconstitutional.  Some of our members have questioned whether Unmarried Equality should have engaged in the same-sex marriage movement at all, as our ultimate goal is to banish the belief that legal marriage is the only acceptable form for a committed relationship and to eliminate the assignment of benefits and privileges based on marital status. That is the position we declare, and we have done so throughout the fight for same-sex marriage.  But we can’t help but be pleased about the DOMA decision, and here’s why:  The conversation about marriage, relationships, government involvement, and inequality of benefits has moved to a new level.  Education about how relationship categories are treated differently, with some receiving privileges not available to others, has ensued.  And that’s a good thing.  After media saturation about the rights of the LGBTQ community relative to marriage of the past couple of years, the press and the public is interested in hearing about other aspects of the debate.  Unmarried Equality is positioned to offer another viewpoint, and has established its authority over the past 15 years so that it is seen as a representative organization.   The DOMA ruling may help persuade employers that our partnered members deserve equal workplace benefits.  Beyond that, we’re not sure that it will affect us directly at all.  But it’s certainly given us a revitalized platform, and we’re stepping onto it.