Massachusetts cuts path for gay marriage

Massachusetts cuts path for gay marriage

Massachusetts has historically been one of the most civil libertarian states in the United States, and today, we continue our proud advocacy of freedom and tolerance. The most hotly debated civil rights issue of our generation has certainly proven to be gay-rights and same-sex marriage. Massachusetts has led the charge on the issue and in 2004,  became the first state in the country to legalize same-sex marriage.
The Massachusetts legislation faced scrutiny from other states and the federal government, and it was determined that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) guarded the rights of other states. In guarding the rights of other states’ legislation on same-sex marriage, it was possible for other states to not recognize same-sex marriages from another state, and that marriages would be invalidated by moving to that state.
The federal DOMA legislation also meant that same-sex couples were not recognized as a union in the eyes of the federal government. As a result, many married couples in Massachusetts and five other states are denied the benefits  heterosexual married couples enjoy, such as filing a joint tax return.
In the effort to respect the rights of all couples, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley and the Gay and Lesbians Advocates and Defenders are representing multiple parties in challenging DOMA in a federal appeals court. The plaintiffs include seven same-sex couples and three widowers.
One of the plaintiffs, Dean Hara – widower of the first openly gay member of Congress, US Representitive Gerry Studds – is looking for the benefits he should have received. Among Hara’s potential benefits are a Social Security death benefit and his husband’s federal pension. Studds was the first openly gay Congressman in the United States, and the two married just one week following the legalization of same-sex marriages in Massachusetts.
If we want to continue to pride ourselves as a country of freedom, we must be accepting and tolerant of lifestyles which have absolutely no detrimental effects on others nor infringe upon the rights of others. There is no logical, rational argument for standing in the way of two people who wish to form a legal union between them for their own emotional, spiritual, and financial desires.
As a straight male, I have no right to impose my preferences on others, nor does anyone else. Likewise, the devout religious have no right to impose their beliefs on anyone else. Massachusetts and the United States were settled and founded on freedom from religious tyranny and discrimination. Today we carry that thought forward as DOMA is challenged in a federal appeals court for the first time.