Marriage Equality Essential But Insufficient

Statement by the DSA National Political Committee on the Supreme Court’s Rulings on Marriage Equality

Democratic Socialists of America celebrates the two Supreme Court rulings on marriage equality as a major step in the unending struggle for equal rights for the LGBTQ community.  A reactionary Supreme Court has had to recognize that most Americans now accept marriage equality. The Court’s decision will enable married same-sex couples to access federal benefits and strikes down Proposition 8’s ban on same-sex marriage in California.  

These rulings do not end the struggle for equal marital rights for the LGBTQ community. Although both decisions of the Court reference the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee of “equal protection” and “due process before the law,” the Court failed to establish a federal right to same sex marriage by holding state bans on same-sex marriage as unconstitutional. Nor did the Court explicitly state that recalcitrant states must recognize, under the “full faith and credit” clause of the Constitution, the legally married status of LGBT couples married in other states. This could affect whether same-sex couples married in one state, but residing in a state without same-sex marriage, could access all federal benefits. And LGBT couples married in one state, but resident in one in which same-sex marriage does not exist, might still be denied the legal rights of a spouse (e.g., to hospital visitation, legal power of attorney, inheritance, child custody).

Just as marriage rights should not be tied to procreation, the right to bear and raise children should not be tied solely to the institution of marriage. Couples who choose to legally codify their mutual commitment by civil unions should have exactly the same child custody, inheritance, and social rights as married couples. Many individuals identify the institution of marriage with religious institutions or with binary conceptions of gender and sexual identity. Thus, the legal spread of the practice of civil unions, as exists in much of Europe, would expand   the options for those who wish to express mutual, loving commitments.

Furthermore, most of the human rights violations that the LGBTQ persons experience are not tied up with the issue of marriage nor are they addressed by the Court’s decision. In most states and localities, LGBTQ persons have no legal redress to employment discrimination nor is the frequent violence against the community recognized as a hate crime. We still live in a country where violence is visited upon LGBTQ persons daily and where employers can legally fire (or not hire) persons simply based on an aversion to their sexual orientation. Nor does a gain in civil rights guarantee that those rights will last forever; they must constantly be defended and expanded through struggle.

LGBTQ activists and their allies recognize that basic human rights such as health care should not be tied to one’s marital (or employment) status – all people should have quality healthcare and old-age income security regardless of their marital status, economic status, or employment history. Therefore even as we celebrate these gains in LGBTQ rights, we also recognize how far we still have to go as a society and world, and reaffirm our commitment to the struggle for equal rights for all.

 

Film Discussion: When Abortion Was Illegal

March 26, 2017
· 11 rsvps

Directed by Dorothy Fadiman, When Abortion Was Illegal (1992, nominated for an Academy Award, Best Documentary Short Subject) reveals through first-person accounts the experiences of women seeking abortion before the Supreme Court legalized abortion in Roe v. Wade in 1973. We are one Supreme Court nominee away from a return in many states to back-alley abortions. Join Amanda Williams, Executive Director of the Lilith Fund, to discuss challenges to reproductive justice and abortion access. (Lilith Fund funds abortions for women in need in the Central and South Texas area.) Learn about how to participate in April Bowl-A-Thons to raise funds for low-income women. View the film here for free before the discussion. 8 ET/7 CT/6 MT/5 PT.

DSA New Member Orientation Call

March 30, 2017
· 25 rsvps

You've joined DSA - Great. Now register for this New Member Orientation call and find out more about our politics and our vision.  And, most importantly, how you can become involved.  9:30 PM ET; 8:30 PM CT; 7:30 PM MT; 6:30 PM PT.

LGBT Activism: A Brief History with Thoughts about the Future

April 01, 2017
· 50 rsvps

Historian John D'Emilio's presentation will do 3 things: Provide a brief explanation of how sexual and gender identities have emerged; provide an overview of the progression of LGBT activism since its origins in the 1950s, highlighting key moments of change; and, finally, suggest what issues, from a democratic socialist perspective, deserve prioritizing now. John co-authored Intimate Matters: A History of Sexuality in America, which was quoted by Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy in the 2003 Lawrence v. Texas decision that ruled state sodomy laws unconstitutional. 1 pm ET; 12 pm CT; 11 am MT; 10 am PT.

  1. This webinar is free for any DSA member in good standing.
  2. You need a computer with good internet access.
  3. Your computer must have headphones (preferred) or speakers; you can speak thru a mic or use chat to "speak".
  4. If you have questions, contact Peg Strobel, peg.strobel@sbcglobal.net.
  5. If you have technical questions, contact Tony Schmitt, schmittaj@gmail.com, 608-355-6568.

Film Discussion: Documentaries of People's History in Texas

April 02, 2017
· 29 rsvps

Join DSA members Glenn Scott and Richard Croxdale to discuss videos produced by People’s History in Texas (PHIT), a project that brings to life the stories of ordinary people in significant socio-political movements in Texas. They will discuss The Rag, their newest documentary, which tells the story of an influential underground paper based in Austin, Texas, from 1966-77. Click here to view Part I (the early years as an all-volunteer paper covering the student, anti-Vietnam and Civil Rights movements), Part II (the impact of Women’s Liberation on the paper) and Part III (building community: covering local politics, nukes, co-ops, feminist institutions). But also check out the video on the Stand-Ins about a group of university students who led a movement to desegregate Austin’s movie theaters in 1961. 8 ET/7 CT/6 MT/5 PT. Here's a blog post about PHIT.

Introduction to Democratic Socialism

April 04, 2017
· 52 rsvps

Join Rahel Biru, NYC DSA co-chair, and Joseph Schwartz, DSA Vice-Chair, on this webinar for an overview of what we in Democratic Socialists of America mean when we talk about "socialism," "capitalism" and the goals of the socialist movement.  9 PM ET; 8 PM CT; 7 PM MT; 6 PM PT.

  1. This webinar is free for any DSA member in good standing.
  2. You need a computer with good internet access.
  3. Your computer must have headphones (preferred) or speakers; you can speak thru a mic or use chat to "speak".
  4. If you have questions, contact Joseph Schwartz, schwartzjoem@gmail.com.
  5. If you have technical questions, contact Tony Schmitt, schmittaj@gmail.com, 608-355-6568.

Feminist Working Group

April 12, 2017
· 13 rsvps

People of all genders are welcome to join this call to discuss DSA's work on women's and LGBTQ issues, especially in light of the new political reality that we face after the elections.  9 pm ET; 8 pm CT; 7 pm MT; 6 pm PT.

DSA New Member Orientation Call

April 16, 2017
· 6 rsvps

You've joined DSA - Great. Now register for this New Member Orientation call and find out more about our politics and our vision.  And, most importantly, how you can become involved.  8 pm ET; 7 pm CT; 6 pm MT; 5 pm PT.

Film Discussion: The Free State of Jones

June 11, 2017
· 9 rsvps

Join Victoria Bynum, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of History, Texas State University, San Marcos, to discuss The Free State of Jones. STX Entertainment bought the film rights to Bynum's book of the same title. She also served as a consultant and appears in a cameo scene. What was the Free State of Jones? During the Civil War, an armed band of deserters led by Newt Knight, a non-slaveholding white farmer, took to the swamps of southeastern Mississippi and battled against the Confederacy in an uprising popularly known as “The Free State of Jones.” Joining Newt in this rebellion was Rachel, a slave. From their relationship, there developed a controversial mixed-race community that endured long after the Civil War had ended. View the film here for $6 before the discussion. 8 ET/7 CT/6 MT/5 PT.