Standing Up

There are occasions when politicians from both parties in a two party system should stand up together for a common cause. One such occasion when this bipartisan approach was necessary was following the striking down of Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in 2013 by the Supreme Court of the United Sates (SCOTUS).

(Section 3 of DOMA is known to relate to such topics as (for federal purposes) government employees insurance benefits, social security survivors’ benefits, bankruptcy, immigration, filing of joint tax returns, scope of laws protecting (heterosexual only) families of federal officers, financial aid eligibility laws, and federal ethics laws applying to heterosexual spouses.)

It is obvious why those seeking to redefine marriage and the family would want to have SCOTUS strike down this section of DOMA.

This bipartisanship was very evident in May 1996 when The Defense Of Marriage Act (DOMA) passed Congress and the Senate by large majorities. This bipartisanship thus contributed to the DOMA being signed into law in September, 1996 by President Bill Clinton.

DOMA defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman. It also defines “spouse” as a partner in a legally recognized heterosexual marriage.

Four out of the nine SCOTUS judges voted in favour of upholding Section 3 of the DOMA. Their position is very noteworthy since clearly, the other five judges misinterpreted part or all of the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment.

All congressmen, senators, governors and mayors, of both parties, who were in favour of upholding the DOMA should have highlighted, locally and nationally, the position of the SCOTUS judges who voted for upholding the DOMA. They then should have considered using the vote of the four SCOTUS judges who also favoured upholding the DOMA, as the rallying cry for their upholding it in practice. This would not only be a case of the ultimate bipartisanship, it would also be a valid case of the end justifying the means.

By Edward Fagan

       

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