Gay Marriage: Same-Sex Marriage on Democratic Party Agenda for 2012 Elections
Jul 30, 2012 03:58 PM EDT
On Monday, Democratic Representative of Massachusetts Barney Frank announced that the Democratic Party will include gay marriage to their platform in the upcoming elections in November. According to Frank the decision comes after a weekend convention by the Platform Drafting Committee in which a panel of 15 members voted unanimously to add gay marriage rights to the party rhetoric. It is not certain whether the President will be including the issue to his presidential re-election campaign.
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Frank, who has been openly gay told the Washington Blade, "I was part of a unanimous decision to include it...There was a unanimous decision in the drafting committee to include it in the platform, which I supported, but everybody was for it."
The decision should come as no surprise as the Democratic Party, including President Barrack Obama, has been very vocal about their support to the issue. In May President Obama became the first president in the nation's history to admit his support to same-sex marriage.
Last month, the Obama administration asked the Supreme Court to take on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) case of Massachusetts upon its return from summer recess. President Obama released a statement saying that he agreed with the lower-court's decision to overturn DOMA but "wants prompt high court review," (Associated Press).The DOMA case was repealed by G.O.P after a Federal Appeals Court struck down the law as unconstitutional because it denies same-sex couples federal financial services and benefits.
The case is called Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. Department of Health & Human Services and is expected to be the next big issue after health care that the Supreme Court will take on after it returns for the next session. The court is expected to rule on the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, 1996, which denies financial benefits to same-sex couples. Although the case doesn't directly address the issue of gay-marriage per say, if taken on by the apex court, it will be the first time the issue is addressed at the federal level. In May, the 1st U.S. circuit court of appeals in Massachusetts unanimously ruled that the DOMA i.e. the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unlawfully denies a married homosexual couple the federal privileges granted to a heterosexual one and therefore is unconstitutional. On May 31st. Boston, MA - A federal court ruled that the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unlawfully denies a married homosexual couple the federal rights and privileges granted to a heterosexual one. The decision was unanimous on the three-judge panel 1st circuit court of appeals.
Judge Michael Boudin, who wrote the decision stated, "Under current Supreme Court authority, Congress' denial of federal benefits to same-sex couples lawfully married in Massachusetts has not been adequately supported by any permissible federal interest," as reported by boston.com
DOMA was created as a result of the state of Hawaii recognizing same-sex marriages in 1996 under the Clinton administration. According to the law, only a marriage between a man and a woman entitles the couple to federal financial entitlements such as social security benefits and filing for joint-federal taxes among others.
Massachusetts was the first State to legalize same-sex marriage in May 2004. Since then six others have done the same.
Last week, Founder and president of amazon.com, Jeff Bezon and his wife MacKinzie donated 2.5 million dollars to save a same-sex marriage law in a Washington State referendum. In February, Washington State passed the same-sex marriage law, however a referendum is to be held in order to confirm its passing in the state legislature. The referendum is known as referendum 75. If passed, the state will be the seventh in the country that would allow same-sex couples to marry. Currently, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire and District of Columbia are the six states that permit marriage between same genders.
The 2.5 million is the largest amount the same-sex marriage effort has received, making Bezos and his wife the highest financial backers. Microsoft Billionaire Bill Gates had donated $100,000 to the cause, but the $2.5 certainly makes the amount seem meager.