Rest In Pieces DOMA
BY: DANIEL GOLDSBARY
Now that DOMA is dead, it’s time to celebrate. However, we must remember that the fight for equality on the queer front is far from over.
Some of you reading this may not be entirely familiar with DOMA or what it meant to the queer citizens of the United States, so I’ll cover the bases for you. The Defense of Marriage Act restricted the definition of marriage to a man and woman, and declared that any state that does not recognize same-sex marriage is not legally obligated to recognize one coming from a state that does. Bill Clinton signed it into effect on Sept. 21, 1996 while under political pressure after attempting to allow gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military. The fact that there were enough votes to override a presidential veto when Congress passed the bill probably helped Clinton’s decision to sign it with no opposition.
If the argument to repeal DOMA needed any kind of push, it got it when Clinton wrote an essay for Washington Post in March 2013, expressing his change of heart and declaring that DOMA is “incompatible with our Constitution”.
The death of DOMA is surely something to be overjoyed with; you might even find yourself humming that age old Wizard of Oz song “Ding-Dong! The Witch Is Dead.” Now that the supreme courts have ruled section three of DOMA unconstitutional, LGBT Americans will have their marriages recognized by the federal government.
Although now that the proverbial dust is settling, we should ask ourselves: What next? What else needs our attention?
There’s still a lot to be done. Along with these victories, there are still problems. States that do not allow same-sex marriage are still not required to recognize the marriage of a same-sex couple coming from a different state, so there is still a battle to be fought in 37 states to acquire full marriage equality.
The fight for the acceptance and equal treatment of transgendered women and men is among the most immediate problems that require the public’s attention. Just three years ago here on campus, an unknown assailant attacked a transgendered man and carved the word IT into the victim’s chest.
In another facet of the spectrum, queer people of color face a much higher level of discrimination. Where is their representation? What I see most of the time in pro-queer advertisements is a lot of happy Caucasian men and women, and mostly men at that.
I would say the best current representation of a transgendered person of color is Laverne Cox’s role as Sophia Burset in “Orange is the New Black,” and for the most part, the show is set in a federal prison. Where the show gets it right, however, is that it tells her complete story; pain, awkward situations, discrimination, joy, and growth of self-confidence, are all translated into one season. Laverne Cox is also a transgender activist and has spoken much more eloquently on this subject than I have. I suggest checking out her interviews.
In fact, I suggest getting involved in any kind of activism for equality. From standing up for a stranger or a friend, to rallying in protest. Any effort for equality goes a long way. It’s important to remember that change doesn’t just happen around you; it happens because of you.