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The Bliss Blog

The Bliss Blog

Love Prevails

 

Yesterday began like any other for most Americans, unless you were awaiting a monumental Supreme Court decision. As an interfaith minister who marries both same and opposite sex couples, someone with friends of diverse gender and relationship preference and a woman of conscience who affirms that love is love is love and that “it is about the person, not the plumbing,” I was eager to see what would emerge from the chambers. I walked into one of my homes away from home, Planet Fitness (The Judgment Free Zone) for my ‘playout’ and noticed that most of the television screens that span the front of the space were tuned to news channels with BREAKING NEWS streaming across them. My heart began thumpity thumping even before I climbed on board the elliptical as I saw the first of two pieces of information. The Supreme Court struck down Section 3 of DOMA (The bizaarely named Defense of Marriage Act; how can same sex marriage in any way threaten heterosexual marriage, such that it would need defending? ) as unconstitutional . Another, astoundingly courageous Edie (Edith Windsor) is the catalyst for such a powerful outcome. For 40 years, she was in a deeply committed and passionate relationship with a woman named Thea Spyre who she describes as “the love of my life,” which is the way my parents, who were married nearly 52 years when death parted them as well, described each other. Two years prior to Thea’s death from MS in 2009, she and Edie were married in Canada. When she died, Edie was required to pay an exorbitant amount of estate tax. In several interviews, she had said that had there been one letter difference in her sweetie’s name (Theo instead of Thea) and even had she met a man and married him the day before he died, her tax liability would have been zero.  As a result, she filed suit. An elegant octogenarian, she had two powerful forces on her side: love and the law. Oh, and I’m sure, her wife on the Other Side, beaming with pride and joy.

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“Due to Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which bars the federal  government from recognizing same-sex marriages for the purpose of federal  benefits and tax breaks, Windsor faced a bill in excess of $300,000 on Spyer’s  estate. She decided to fight this case despite her own ill health and warnings  from other equality fighters who thought her chances of winning were slim.”

To learn more of the specifics about what this change will mean to so many families:
Read more: http://www.care2.com/causes/here-are-3-amazing-reactions-to-todays-gay-marriage-victories.html#ixzz2XPz2ttf8

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The second victory came with booting out of the court room Proposition 8. According to an article in The Huffington Post:

“The Supreme Court on Wednesday left for dead California’s same-sex marriage ban, Proposition 8, but the question of gay and lesbian couples’ constitutional right to marry remains very much alive.

By a 5-4 vote, the justices held in Hollingsworth v. Perry that the traditional marriage activists who put Proposition 8 on California ballots in 2008 did not have the constitutional authority, or standing, to defend the law in federal courts after the state refused to appeal its loss at trial.

“We have never before upheld the standing of a private party to defend the constitutionality of a state statute when state officials have chosen not to,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the majority opinion. “We decline to do so for the first time here.”

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Roberts was joined in his majority opinion by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Antonin Scalia, Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan. Justice Anthony Kennedy filed a dissenting opinion, joined by Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Sonia Sotomayor.

The judgment of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit was vacated and the case remanded with instructions to dismiss the appeal for lack of jurisdiction. While California will likely begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, the decision will not have an impact beyond the state’s borders, and other same-sex marriage bans across the country will be left intact.”

My immediate reaction was a fist pump in the air as a yahooooo!  moved through me and tears trickled, since I know what this means to so many whose love lives are scrutinized and in many cases, demonized. It affords some sense of validity to what should, in my opinion, be a given; that love is not measured by body parts or chromosomes, but rather dedication and heart and soul connection.

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According to this tireless crusader, the decision brings with it “The beginning of the end of stigma. It is the beginning of the end of lying about who we are.”  and adds: “My country gave dignity to this beautiful person I lived with.”

www.youtube.com/watch?v=e9lfi7gCuz0  Everything Possible by Fred Small

 

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