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Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Answers to the National Organization for Marriage’s Questions, Number 6

On the National Organization for Marriage website, NOM answers questions supposedly posed to them by the opposition.

The question to NOM, Number 6. What about benefits? Don’t gay couples and their kids need the benefits and protections of marriage?”
NOM's Answer: “If medical proxies aren’t working, let’s fix that problem. If people need health care, let’s get them health care. Don’t mess with marriage.” 
A: “The issue isn't benefits, it is marriage. Local folks can decide benefits. This is about the meaning of marriage, our most basic social institution for protecting children. “

According to a report given to the Office of the General Counsel of the U.S. General Accounting Office, here are a few of the 1,138 benefits the United States government provides to legally married couples that are denied to same-sex couples by virtue of the federal Defense of Marriage Act: 
    Access to Military Stores
    Assumption of Spouse’s Pension
    Bereavement Leave
    Insurance Breaks
    Medical Decisions on Behalf of Partner
    Sick Leave to Care for Partner
    Social Security Survivor Benefits
    Sick Leave to Care for Partner
    Tax Breaks
    Veteran’s Discounts
    Visitation of Partner in Hospital (from
    Just try to fix this problem!  The only way to do it is to dismantle DOMA, which, of course, NOM fully supports.  
NOM implicitly agrees that important benefits should be awarded to same-sex couples, even if this is to be decided by "local folks."  They know that the majority of Americans are in favor of such extension of benefits.  But their solution is impossible, therefore it is not a serious solution at all.

NOM is correct in stating that this is about the meaning of marriage.  And it is about protecting our children.  But from what?  If NOM is serious about protection, then why would they advocate that children of same-sex couples not receive the same protecting federal benefits afforded to heterosexual couples?  Same-sex marriages and civil unions are a fact of life in America and are here to stay.  This seems more like a war against children than a defense of traditional marriage.

And the idea that children in same-sex marriages are in an inferior environment does not pass professional examination.  In case you missed earlier posts, The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry approved the following statement in support of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender parenting in 2009:
All decisions relating to custody and parental rights should rest on the interest of the child. There is no evidence to suggest or support that parents who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender are per se superior or inferior from or deficient in parenting skills, child-centered concerns, and parent-child attachments when compared with heterosexual parents. There is no credible evidence that shows that a parent's sexual orientation or gender identity will adversely affect the development of the child.

Yes, this is about the meaning of marriage.  It's about putting true meaning into the lives of myriads of couples who desire to be married or are married, yet are denied the full benefits of marriage.  They provide their families with love and support in the face of very difficult circumstances, yet, on average,  manage more than satisfactory outcomes. I think it's time we untie that hand behind their backs and provide a level playing field.  If the Supreme Court does not strike down DOMA, support a Congress that does does.  

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