Tammy Baldwin shows up for history
Wisconsin's U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin showed up at the U.S. Supreme Court today for the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) hearing.
She posted a picture of her arriving at the Supreme Court building on her Twitter account (@SenatorBaldwin) this morning, which was a good indication Baldwin fully realizes the significance of her presence at what may be an historic consideration of civil rights for gay Americans who want to have their relationships officially recognized by society by allowing couples to marry.
That isn't the case in most of the nation today, save for a few U.S. states.
At issue is the Defense of Marriage Act, known as DOMA, passed by overwhelming margins in both houses of Congress in 1996 and signed by President Bill Clinton. It bars federal agencies from recognizing the validity of same-sex marriages in the states where they are legal.
Baldwin's attendance at the hearings is noteworthy mainly because she is the only openly gay person ever elected to the Senate. Thus, her presence at the DOMA hearings that may possibly decide whether gay marriage becomes legal in the US was an important statement to both her constituency and her colleagues in the Congress.
Gay marriage has become a highly contentious political football of late, as even some Republicans who have always opposed gay marriage seem to have weakened their stand against it.
That may possibly be due to recent polls that show more and more American voters aren't as upset about gay marriage as previously thought. Plus, some conservative politicians still smarting from the loss to President Obama last November understand they need to loosen up on some of their outdated ideas about society in light of evolving attitudes about homosexual rights among young people and minorities.
A large percentage of voters will still hold onto their staunch opposition to gay marriage on religious grounds that don't waver. Included in that group are those with legitimate concerns about the sanctity of the definition of marriage as being exclusively between a man and a woman and others who use religion to mask their bigotry, fear and hatred of gays.
In any case, voters who oppose gay marriage will likely hold any politicians who get involved in the fight accountable, which is why many lawmakers in D.C. are probably glad this ball is in the Supreme Court Justices' hands.
In Wisconsin, the election of Baldwin by a coalition of voters proved that being a gay politician isn't the kind of radioactive political issue it was once assumed to be.
The bottom line: The Supremes will ultimately decide if the Constitution can be used to prevent some citizens from expressing their love for each other through marriage the same way other citizens do.
With that at stake, it's good to see Baldwin has taken her stand.
Typo in there Eugene. You said Bill Clinton signed DOMA (highly intolerant legislation against homosexual marriage) into law. It was actually George W Bush. Right? Wait... it was Clinton... oh ish... ummm... move along! Nothing to see here!
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