How DOMA and Prop 8 Could Impact You and Your Family

The U.S. Department of Justice unilaterally decided that it will no longer be defending the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in the lawsuits currently pending against it. While some in Congress are stepping in to defend DOMA legally, others in Congress have already introduced legislation to repeal it: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-112hr1116ih/pdf/BILLS-112hr1116ih.pdf You may want to be informed about the implications of this for your family. 

Likewise, the California marriage case surrounding the constitutionality of Proposition 8 also presents serious consequences to American families in all the 50 states, as it could redefine marriage for the entire nation.  Currently, the Ninth Circuit has maintained that same sex weddings shall not be recognized during the pending appeal of Proposition 8 (see http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/03/23/BA9G1II16S.DTL&tsp=1).  This latest decision allows the appeal to move forward in a constitutional manner, enforcing the court's original injunction on new same sex marriages in California.  To read more on this decision, click here: http://www.ca9.uscourts.gov/datastore/general/2011/03/23/10-16696_order.pdf.  Links to all the judicial proceedings on Proposition 8 can be accessed at: http://www.ca9.uscourts.gov/content/view.php?pk_id=0000000513

There are many implications that bear consideration in federal expansion of marriage.  For example, some suggest that same sex marriages could lead to an increase in polygamy, according to this Washington Times article:

You, your children and your family could experience unintended consequences if marriage is redefined in our country on a federal level, either by a denial of Proposition 8, or a denial of DOMA.  These consequences, however, are not often readily apparent, as the experience in Massachusetts demonstrates: Shortly after same-sex marriage was mandated in Massachusetts by that state's highest court, a few parents realized their children were being taught that same-sex unions were normal, natural and the moral equivalent of marriage between a man and a woman. These parents attempted to opt their children out of these public school lessons, but were ultimately unsuccessful in a court of law. Two federal courts in Massachusetts, including the appeals court just below the U.S. Supreme Court, determined that because same-sex marriage was legally recognized in Massachusetts, parents no longer had the right to determine whether or what their children would be taught about these relationships. 

Marriage became a social issue in the classroom.  DOMA defines marriage in all federal laws as the union of a man and a woman, and protects the ability of states to not recognize same-sex marriages from other states.  Given what happened in Massachusetts, it is imperative that DOMA be defended well.  It is also imperative that states like California can continue to determine their own marriage policy, as it attempted to do with the passage of Prop. 8.

Social commentators are writing about the importance of marriage in new ways, as in this article on "Why Monogamy Matters" at http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/07/opinion/07douthat.html?src=me&ref=homepage, detailing the results of marriage expansion in future societal decline.  Monogamous marriage between a man and a woman is critical to any society's future.

And those who choose to marry and become parents have a constitutionally protected fundamental right to protect and direct the upbringing of their children.  DOMA and Proposition 8 protect that right, but it hangs in the balance as courts continue to consider the constitutionality of each, even though state elected defenders and federal Department of Justice attorneys refuse to protect these state and federal laws. 

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