HRC

No full faith and credit – or COBRA for you…

In the spring of 2004, just 3 short days after Same-Sex Marriage became legal in the state of Massachusetts, my lovely spouse of 15 years (at the time) and I renewed our vows and made it legal – in Massachusetts anyway…

Lately, I have found myself caught between the proverbial “rock and hard-place” better known as Massachusetts state law and the Federal Government. Not only has this duplicity made filing taxes a nightmare, but when my spouse got laid off almost a year ago, we counted on my being able to continue to have access to our excellent health insurance through COBRA. What were we thinking? COBRA is a Federal program. We are not married according to Federal Law! And, because we are married in Massachusetts, our combine income exceeds the amount that would make me eligible to purchase reasonable health insurance at a price I can afford.

You may ask – Whatever happened to the Constitution of the United States? Not too long ago, we as a nation held Article four, Section one of our Constitution, better known as the “Full Faith and Credit Clause”, as essential to running both commerce and personal affairs, with the assumption it would apply to any contract we might enter into. Thanks to the “Defense of Marriage Act” signed into law by Bill Clinton, gay and lesbian people who decided to enter into legal marriage are now facing an onslaught of unfair, often confusing and abusive treatment from our Federal Government.

Writing discrimination into law is wrong. While the the decision to restrict marriage to between one man and one woman should be made according to each individual’s religious and personal convictions, DOMA erases the separation between Church and State and creates a subclass of citizens who are not equal under the laws of this Nation. In-fact, not only does DOMA discriminate against same-sex couples, but it belittles the state of marriage between one man and one woman which it professes to uphold. If traditional, heterosexual marriage is so fragile it cannot withstand the legal recognition of gay and lesbian relationships, there is something so broken no law or constitutional amendment will be able to fix it.