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Massachusetts Attorney General Coakley Sues US Over Same Sex Marriage

posted by Jerry Kolber

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley just sued the US Federal Government challenging the euphemistically named Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), claiming that it is unconstitutional because it denies insurance, health care, and other rights to gay and lesbian couples in same sex marriages. She is correct. It is unconstitutional, and beyond unconstitutional it is an abhorrent stain of injustice, inequality, and hatred born of fear and ignorance. This isn’t a Democratic or Republican issue (though if it was up to most Republican politicians, blacks still wouldn’t be able to marry whites or vote, but THAT was okay for it’s time too).  It’s a human issue, and as the AG of the first state to legalize same sex marriage, Coakley is absolutely correct in suing the federal government.

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Imagine if DOMA had been passed in the 1940’s – it would have
legislated against interracial marriage.  Any and all government
imposed/sanctioned prejudice, racism, and sexual-phobia makes us look
like a nation where the majority of us are scared penis-and-vagina obsessed
three year old rednecks with the right to vote (we’re not, are we?).

Hopefully this is the first step towards a middle way, eliminating
marriage from the government entirely and putting it back in churches
& temples where it belongs, and giving government nothing but the
right to extend certain benefits to any two consenting adults. 
Anything less is Bible/Koran/Torah-thumping and should be called out at
every possible opportunity. It’s ego madness given the power of law, and that’s simply not what our country was meant to be about.

Bravo Coakley for perhaps forcing Pres. Obama to finally address the
last great frontier of government-sanctioned hatred. The world will be
a better place thanks to your efforts  You can’t have faith in the
power of love and simultaneously fail to support the right of two human
beings to express their love in a public union and get the same benefits as anyone
else. 

On the other hand, if you think gays and lesbians don’t deserve all the
same benefits (i.e. second tier of rights) maybe we should be figuring
out how they can also pay a lesser percentage of taxes until they enjoy
the same participation in society as heterosexuals. Seems like that
would be a fair transition?



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Comments read comments(13)
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Pablito

posted July 9, 2009 at 1:25 pm


I agree with most of the points of this good article. However, I am disturbed by attacks on Republicans and “rednecks.” Such cheap shots diminish the value of the article.



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Chris

posted July 9, 2009 at 1:36 pm


On a personal level, I don’t think it makes any sense to deny the many legal benefits to two consenting adults. I’ve heard there are some 2,000 legal benefits that are specific to the state of “marriage”
However, whether or not a particular church chooses to perform a religious ceremony effectively blessing the union, should remain up to the individual church in question. Saying “two people may legally marry” should not imply “any religious organization must bless the union” That is part of the separation of church and state.
So, how do we separate the legal state of marriage from the religious ceremony many use to publicly declare entry into that state?
I feel there is an important distinction, but saying “marriage is between a man and a woman” explicitly takes away that distinction–it enforces a particular religious definition upon those who may receive the legal benefits.
Unfortunately, I don’t believe the US government will separate these two distinctions, since there are many in the US for whom a same sex marriage is a “mortal sin”.



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Jules

posted July 9, 2009 at 3:38 pm


I find it weird that states are allowed to have constitutions that conflict with the federal one on such basic issues as preventing tyranny of the majority. As many have told me, because of this disconnect, the gay marriage issue could be taken to and resolved in federal courts, but it’s annoying it has to take all this hoop-jumping over the course of years and years to get there.
But bravo for MA Attorney General Coakley (not Oakley) for stepping up and doing what is the obvious next step.



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Nimh

posted July 9, 2009 at 4:04 pm


I’ve always said that the state and federal governments should strike the word marriage from the books, and anyone who wants to join together with another person will be joined in a civil union (or some other, easier-to-say term), and “marriage” should strictly be a religious term. If the argument was about what conservatives claim it’s about, they really shouldn’t have any problem with this solution; for the church, marriage remains marriage, and for the government, everyone has equal rights. Unfortunately, it’s not really about keeping marriage between a man and a woman or having respect for marriage; it’s really about preventing gay couples from being equal with straight couples in the eyes of the law, and it’s really silly that no one’s pointed out this (I think) fairly obvious solution to the whole problem, as it would make very clear the type bullshit that the conservatives have gotten very good at spewing.



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Jessica

posted July 9, 2009 at 5:03 pm


Bravo to this courageous AG.
Someone with some kind of power needed to stand up and try to resolve this issue of Human Rights and I’m glad this brave woman has stepped up and started the ball rolling.
More power to you on this one Martha.



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Daphne

posted July 9, 2009 at 8:31 pm


jsw25b
Re: Same Sex Marriage Massachusetts Attorney General
I see no point in repeating the valid and wonderful points the author of this article and the commentors regarding this article have already made. I do want to reiterate that the word “marriage” should be reserved for relligious institutions so that each of us can choose, or choose not to choose, a religious institution that upholds beliefs similiar to our own and so that religion does not enter into the union of two consenting adults in what is known as “marriage” now. No rights offered to partners of the opposite gender should be denied to those of the same gender.
How appropriate that the issue of how similar this issue is to the issues faced by the African-Americans in this country for centuries. I sincerely hope that in the not-to-distant future we will all be standing around, shaking our heads and wondering what the heck the big fuss was all about. The reason behind denying rights to a group of human beings that is no danger to anyone a complete mystery to me.



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Michele Squires

posted July 10, 2009 at 11:29 am


I’m relieved to be in the company of the above posters. Refreshing and encouraging sponsoring thoughts spoken out loud is the first step in the process of changing collective thinking.
You have all spoken eloquently and are another link in the chain of change. God bless all of you. You have made a difference. It’s that “man in the mirror” idea at work!



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Strider

posted July 12, 2009 at 3:55 am


Thank you, Attourney General Coakley!
Thank you, fellow commenters!
. I agree with those who question the involvement of government in the marriage business. Why? Why does government virually discriminate against singles by charging higher taxes, for example?
. What is it to anyone if two people love each other and choose to share their lives together?
. Why is it that people blame religions for this? It’s the religious people who are doing it. The Bible says nothing of the subject, except that God (or the scribe who wrote it) feels one specific sex act between men is disgusting. I think so too, but that does not proclude anyone else from that. And that has nothing to do with Love!
To me, that this is even an issue is obsurd. Like people said, it’s the same as inter-racial, inter-faith, or inter-hair-color marriage.
. Let me start a new consciousness here: Self-marriage. What if someone wants to marry themselves? What about those who marry God, such as priests and nuns? Why are those not an issue? Wouldn’t you rather require the people who work with your children to have stable sex lives, even if they are homo- or hetero-sexual?
. What about abusive hetero-sexual marriages? Our society is set up to make it extremely difficult to remove one’s self and children from a government-regulated hetero-sexual contract.
…How about if we put our focus on some real issues, and let good folks who are truly in love be together, and let those who are not in love quit footing the bill.



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Mike

posted July 13, 2009 at 4:35 pm


Marriage is the unity between a man and a woman. The bible says adam and eve not adam and steve. The alternative lifestyle group has been trying to force their agenda down the throats of America for too long with “hate crime” legislation and such. Christain beliefs are being defined as hate speech. I do not begrudge anyone’s right to pursue happiness, however that happiness may be achieved. There are many benefits that gay couples should be entitled to but the fact remains, a marriage is between a man and a woman.



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Mike

posted July 13, 2009 at 4:44 pm


What if someone wanted to marry a goat. Who are we to say that that is any less a marriage than one between a man and a woman? Take it a step forward, one of them nambla freaks wants to marry a small boy, is that okay too? Strider wants self marriage, thank God that is a unity that wont create future freaks.
To be a homosexual is an abnormality, which is not to say they aren’t decent human beings, but it is against nature and God’s will. Humans are one of the few if not the only species that have homosexuals which should tell you something. That we as a predominately Christian society subvert our belief to allow homosexuality to be recognized as anything more than the abnormality that it is very disturbing.



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Jennifer Barnes

posted November 6, 2009 at 7:41 pm


@ Mike (posted 7/13/09) and well, everyone who is against same-sex marriage.
Are you so blinded by your imaginary friend that you can’t see the difference between two consenting adults and a small boy/girl or animal? You are ridiculous! How dare you think that you have the right to push your religious beliefs on this subject. If you want the government to stay out of your church, then keep it out of state matters. Also, human beings are NOT the only species that have homosexuals. Do you even watch the news or read the paper or even a book for that matter? Homosexuality is in almost every species on Earth you closed minded religious idiot. Yes, this is an attack on you. You have no idea what you are talking about and believe that some imaginary person is telling you what is right and wrong because you lack the ability to think for yourself.
And this is not and will never be a ‘christian society.’ Most ‘christians’ claim to believe in god but go against everything that the bible says on a daily basis. You want to play your christian card only when it suits you. Its bullshit. Tell me why (without using the bible as an excuse) two adults shouldn’t be allowed to make their own decisions in life. Tell me how two same-sex people getting married will affect MY marriage? Tell me when ‘marriage’ became something that the bible invented. Marriage has been around LONG before the bible or even christ was born. How is it a religious thing if people were getting married before religion? You and everyone who thinks like you is a bigot. It’s that simple.
I say that religion should be the thing that is outlawed. It’s the only thing on this planet that kills more people and deprives more people of basis rights than anything else known to man.
Feel free to email me if you would like to continue this any further.



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Christopher Mohr

posted November 7, 2009 at 5:20 am


I’m not taking a side either way here, only pointing out the fact that 31 states (that is, all of the states in which it was introduced as a referendum, decided by the people, not a court action), when it was put to a vote banned same-sex marriage or repealed court and legislative action allowing SSM.
Maybe it’s time to change strategy to patience. Eventually, it will probably swing back around, and the bans will be rescinded. But for the time being, a majority of the people don’t seem to care for it. Patient attention to making it more acceptable in society by various means will eventually change the minds of enough people to allow it, something court action and legislation, currently, cannot.



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Elizabeth

posted November 7, 2009 at 11:16 am


Mike, you honestly think that its correct to compare the legal union of two consenting adults who love each other to marrying an animal? And “adam and eve not adam and steve”? It sounds like you’re just repeating what you’ve been told and not really thinking about the issue. I’m a female who has been married to the same man for 10 years (never plan to change that). My brother just told our family he is gay. Why would I not want him to have what I enjoy? A marriage with someone he loves and wants to spend the rest of his life with. If he decided to get married, it wouldn’t change my relationship with my husband. The relationship of my next door neighbors has no effect on my marriage. If it did, then that’s my problem, not the people next door.



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