Obama should repeal DOMA
Published: Thursday, January 24, 2013
Updated: Thursday, January 24, 2013 00:01
It’s not every day we feel proud to be Americans. Between the ongoing war in Afghanistan, continued criminalization of marijuana in Oregon, and university plans to increase tuition yet again, sometimes we get a little down. But President Barack Obama’s second inaugural address made us feel all warm and fuzzy inside, and if he follows through with the promises he made during that speech, we will have even more reason to feel pride in our nation.
“Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law — for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well,” Obama said, and we agree with him. But we hope he actually acts on it in his second term and does the right things and doesn’t just placate us with some pretty words.
Of course, his first term saw the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” which we applauded and was long overdue. But we also saw inaction when it came to other issues affecting gay rights.
Obama needs to make striking down the Defense of Marriage Act one of his primary goals. This act, which defines marriage as between one man and one woman, discriminates against many gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered couples who want to spend their lives together and receive the same legal and financial benefits that come with marriage. They should be allowed to marry. It is a travesty this law has been allowed to continue to exist, especially at the federal level.
By allowing this law to exist at the federal level, federal employees who have same-sex marriages aren’t afforded the same benefits as married heterosexual couples. It also does not recognize at the federal level those couples legally married in states where same-sex marriage is legal. This is not in the best interest of the United States, and while it might be easy for Obama to ignore this for another four years, the time is now for him to take action.
Repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act would also go a long way in helping to strike down the various bans against same-sex marriage that exist at the state level, including one in Oregon, because it’s hard to argue what is legal federally should continue to be illegal and discriminatory at the state level.
Obama can also end discrimination against same-sex couples in the military. Repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” may have given gay, lesbian and bisexual citizens the right to serve openly, but it did not afford these service members and their partners the same sort of benefits it gives to heterosexual couples. This is another easy act the president can fix quickly.
Equal rights for all people, and ending discrimination based on sexual orientation, should be made the law of the land. Obama was right to acknowledge how far we as a nation have come, but we still have a lot further to go.
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