DOMA called unconstitutional by Supreme Court


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Freedom for all, or freedom for none



Wednesday, June 26, 2013–The Supreme Court issued rulings on two highly-anticipated cases on gay marriage today. By 5-4, it ruled the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman, is unconstitutional reported NPR today.


As SCOTUSblog reports, the court struck down the federal law because it denies same-sex couples the “equal liberty” guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment. This decision means that legally married same-sex couples are now entitled to the same federal benefits as married opposite sex couples.

“DOMA’s unusual deviation from the usual tradition of recognizing and accepting state definitions of marriage here operates to deprive same-sex couples of the benefits and responsibilities that come with the federal recognition of their marriages. This is strong evidence of a law having the purpose and effect of disapproval of that class. The avowed purpose and practical effect of the law here in question are to impose a disadvantage, a separate status and so a stigma upon all who enter into same-sex marriages made lawful by the unquestioned authority of the States,” said Judge Kennedy, Majority Leader.

In a statement, President Obama praised today’s Supreme Court decision on DOMA, which he said was “discrimination enshrined in law.” He called the ruling invalidating the legislation “a victory for couples who have long fought for equal treatment under the law.”

In a statement, Attorney General Eric Holder said the court’s decision on DOMA is an “enormous triumph for equal protection under the law for all Americans.”
“The Court’s ruling gives real meaning to the Constitution’s promise of equal protection to all members of our society, regardless of sexual orientation,” Holder said. The ruling impacts a “broad array of federal laws,” Holder added, saying the Justice Department will begin working to implement it.

Kennedy wrote for the majority, and to this writer’s thinking, the decision is perfectly logical. This is a landmark decision, especially in terms of one of the last major groups (GBLT) in the U.S., bringing Civil Rights protection under the law, and the rightful and lawful benefits that are available to all Americans who are married.

What the Religious Rightists, the Fundamentalists, aka Tea Party constituency, and the Neo-Fascist Identity groups clearly don’t understand, is that if any group in the U.S. goes unprotected in this manner, we all are at risk of losing our Civil Rights. As Martin Luther King said, ‘We are all interwoven of the same fabric as human beings. What happens to one of us, happens to all.’ However, it takes emotional and spiritual clarity to understand this, but as the saying goes, ‘Prejudice is an emotional commitment to ignorance.’

There is one other dynamic that is a powerfully potent factor in why the opposition would fight (and will continue to fight) the overturning of DOMA by the Supreme Court this past week: Negativity Bias.

Negativity Bias may be defined essentially as human beings neuro-biological predisposition to think about and focus on “bad news” rather than “good news.” It’s existence in our lives is evolutionary; when our ancestors lived on the land they had to catch their own food; there was a general hyper-arousal to creatures who could harm or kill them–it was with them all the time. When you combined this with genetic factors, social conditioning, and environmental factors, you wind up with Negativity Bias.

In my view, our friends who oppose the Supreme Court’s decision on DOMA, are rife with Negativity Bias. Hard to believe as it is (tongue jabbing cheek), religous proponents are often some of the most biased people. It reminds me of the book written by Leo Booth, an Episcopalian priest, entitled When God Becomes A Drug. You’ll find their quivers full of negative predictions for the GBLT community and anyone else who disagrees with them. One thing appears to be easy for them: speaking FOR God. Often their views, especially on sexual preference, are diametrically opposed to even what other Christians believe. What gives them the right or the self-deluded authority that they think they can judge those who are a part of their own spiritual community? Sounds like arrogancy to me. I’m being restrained in my words here.

Simply put they live in what I would call an Old Testament bubble. There would be other New Testament scriptures (my minor in Seminary was Systematic Theology so it’s pretty hard for them to pull the wool over my eyes) they might use to rationalize their thinking on this. Without excavating any New Testament scriptures, even statements made by Jesus, there are a variety of interpretations which other Christians and scholars believe and adher to–of course, ‘they don’t really follow the Word of God,’ I can hear them saying.

The bottom line here is that many of these folk have Messianic Complexes. They practice “either-or” thinking, close up their minds to new information, attach to old prejudices like burrs to a dog’s leg, and refuse to change. This is why the Rightist opposition will continue even with the Supreme Court’s decision. A de jur decision can’t change and transform a human mind or heart. Only the willingness to give up your own ego and persona, and receive more insight can do so.

They first came for the Communists and I didn’t speak up–because I wasn’t a Communist. Then they came for the Jews and I didn’t speak up–because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came for the trade unionists and I didn’t speak up–because I wasn’t a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics and I didn’t speak up–because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me–and by that time no one was left to speak up. Pastor Martin Niemoeller (Nazi Victim)

 © Christopher Bear Beam July 2, 2013

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