George Takei expressed it best, as he so frequently does, when he used the above image to illustrate what happened in his Facebook newsfeed when the Defense Of Marriage Act announcement was made on June 26th. The outpouring of joy, surprise, and simple relief at the only morally right (not to mention purportedly fundamentally American) decision to treat everyone equally was abundant, and obvious not only out in the real world but on the social networking pages of the planet, too. DOMA was declared unconstitutional, meaning that there is now federal recognition of same-sex marriage.
So DOMA has been repealed, but it may be confusing as to what that means in real terms here - because it doesn't mean that same-sex marriage is legal everywhere in the US, or that the tax and other national (and international!) marriage benefits apply all the time. Basically where you get married is key (it would have to be in a state where same-sex marriage is legal for the union to have federal recognition), and where you live has an effect also. The video below made by the HRC helps to clarify a few things, and this article covers a little of what still needs to change.
Cracked.com have also done an excellent article summarising how the DOMA ruling affects different groups of people. I particularly enjoy their take on the consequences, as well as the splendid analogy below.
But why do I care? I care for the very basic reason of it not making a blind bit of difference whether someone is gay, straight, bisexual, female, male, black, white, yellow, tall, short, fat, thin, American, British and so on: you should be able to be recognised as an equal to others regardless. I care because it's simply right to treat people equally - it's decent, it's rational, and it's also supposed to be a tenet of American society.
|My status update from June 26th 2013.|
But there's an extra reason that I care, why DOMA being repealed possibly hits home a little more to me, and it's got nothing to do with (and should have nothing to do with) being gay. If you read my Facebook status above, you'll see what the ruling means to me more personally. Same-sex couples now have immigration rights, just like Ben and I had. It means that cases like this will no longer happen, and - get your tissues ready - the couple in the video below no longer have to endure the agony of repeated separation because of some arbitrary bullshit legislation about who you're allowed to be with. So eat your own damn sandwich and smile - love is for everyone.