Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Americans Are Done With DoMA

From the Washington Post (written by Jonathan Capehart):
Two new polls out today show that support for marriage equality and rejection of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) are on the rise. President Obama hasn’t said whether same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry. Yet an overwhelming majority of Americans believes that they do.

According to a poll conducted for the Respect for Marriage Coalition, “Three-quarters of voters (75%) believe that [same-sex marriage] is a Constitutional right.” This is up four points since 2011. Also, such support “spans across party lines.”
Democrats: 91 percent Independents: 75 percent Republican: 56 percent
Meanwhile, an overwhelming majority of Americans (83 percent), “regardless of their personal opinion on the issue,” believes that same-sex marriage will be legal nationally “in the next five to 10 years.” The number drops to 77 percent for those who believe marriage equality will go national “in the next couple of years.” The only way marriage equality can go national is if DOMA is repealed either by a ruling of the Supreme Court or by Congress...

One claim with which I will take issue is the last sentence in the excerpt. Even if DoMA fell today, there would still be 31 states that have laws/constitutional amendments that preclude the legal recognition of marriages between same-sex couples. Unless there was a Loving v. Virginia kind of ruling, i.e. the Supreme Court saying that states can not deny the right of same-sex couples to be married (this is essentially what Loving v. Virginia did for interracial couples), those states' equality bans would still be in effect. I am no legal scholar, but I am pretty sure this is such a ruling would work.

Other than that, it is very good to see these numbers, especially the ones showing even a majority of Republicans support marriage equality. I have also seen social conservatives mentioning how racial minorities tend to be against marriage equality. This seems to be a misconception, though it may have been true in the past. Every socio-economic strata of this country is seeing, at the very least, an uptick in support for marriage equality. Hopefully with this trend, the so-called Defense of Marriage Act at the federal level, and its state level kindred, will soon be in the dustbin of the past.

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