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.

 

DSA Queer Socialists Conference Call

May 25, 2017
· 32 rsvps

Join DSA's Queer Socialists Working Group to discuss possible activities for the group and its proposed structure. 9 pm ET/8 pm CT/7 pm MT/6 pm PT.

 

What Is DSA? Training Call

May 30, 2017
· 40 rsvps

If you're a new DSAer, have been on a new member call, but still have questions about DSA's core values/strategy/core work and how to express these ideas in an accessible way to the media, as well as to friends, family and others who might be interested in joining DSA, this call is for you. 

We will talk through the basics of DSA's political orientation and strategy for moving toward democratic socialism, and also have call participants practice discussing these issues with each other. By the end of the call you should feel much more comfortable thinking about and expressing what DSA does and what makes our organization/strategy unique. 8 pm ET; 7 pm CT; 6 pm MT; 5 pm PT. 70 minutes.

Film Discussion: Rosa [Luxemburg]

May 31, 2017
· 90 rsvps

Join DSA member Jason Schulman to discuss the film Rosa, directed by feminist filmmaker Margarethe von Trotta. View it here at no cost before the discussion. Marxist theorist and economist Rosa Luxemburg (1871-1919) played a key role in German socialist politics. Jason edited Rosa Luxemburg: Her Life and Legacy and has a chapter in Rosa Remix. 9 ET/8 CT/7 MT/6 PT.

Film Discussion: The Free State of Jones

June 11, 2017
· 25 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.

Introduction to Democratic Socialism

June 13, 2017
· 2 rsvps

Join Bill Barclay, Chicago DSA co-chair, and Peg Strobel, National Political Committee and Feminist Working Group co-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. 9:30 PM ET; 8:30 PM CT; 7:30 PM MT; 6:30 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 Bill Barclay, chocolatehouse@sbcglobal.net.
  5. If you have technical questions, contact Tony Schmitt, schmittaj@gmail.com, 608-355-6568.

Film Discussion: Pride

September 10, 2017
· 7 rsvps

Join DSA members Eric Brasure and Brendan Hamill to discuss the British film Pride (2014). It’s 1984, British coal miners are on strike, and a group of gays and lesbians in London bring the queer community together to support the miners in their fight. Based on the true story of Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners. The film is available for rent on YouTube, Amazon, and iTunes. 8 ET/7 CT/6 MT/5 PT.

Film Discussion: Union Maids

September 24, 2017
· 5 rsvps

 

Join DSA member and labor historian Susan Hirsch in discussing Union Maids (1976). Nominated for an Academy Award, this documentary follows three Chicago labor organizers (Kate Hyndman, Stella Nowicki, and Sylvia Woods) active beginning in the 1930s. The filmmakers were members of the New American Movement (a precursor of DSA), and the late Vicki Starr (aka Stella Nowicki) was a longtime member of Chicago DSA and the Chicago Women's Liberation Union. It’s available free on YouTube, though sound quality is poor. 8ET/7CT/6MT/5PT.