Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Ding Dong, the DOMA's Dead?

Just a quick addendum, recycled after I found myself saying the same thing repeatedly on Facebook today:

I've been seeing a lot of GLB people crowing that DOMA has been struck down, that it's dead, and the like.

Sorry, folks, DOMA yet breathes.  It is not dead, but sleepeth.  The court only struck down one provision, albeit a key one.

This is a constant annoyance to me, the way people overstate changes. Back in the 90s I was always hearing how "gay marriage" was now legal in states and countries that had simply recognized domestic partnerships and civil unions. Then as now, I and other cranky ol' meanies would point out that civil union, however nice, is not marriage. The widespread eagerness to confuse the two (or three) casts some doubt on SSM advocates' indignant refusal later on to accept civil unions as a separate-but-equal substitute for the Real Deal. If civil unions were "marriage" in their eyes a decade ago, why not now?

And I don't harp on this just to harsh people's buzz, or because I'm mean. (Though I am.) It's because if everybody goes "Ding Dong, DOMA is dead!" then many other people, gay or straight, will believe that the war has been won and there's nothing left to do. Over the years I've talked to many people who'd say, "But don't gays already have marriage in Colorado and Hawaii and Vermont?" I had to explain that no, gays don't already have marriage. Those who want it still had work to do, and they still have more work to do.

P.S. I see that the Court also dismissed the appeal to sustain California's Proposition 8 today. But even that was on narrow procedural grounds, namely the standing of the appellants. They didn't rule on the Constitutional question of "marriage equality."