Imagine a 13-year-old girl gets married in New Hampshire. That’s the only state where it’s legal to marry that young. Now imagine she and her husband can’t file their federal taxes together because no other state allows 13 year olds to marry. Imagine her husband gets injured on their vacation to Indiana, and she can’t visit him in the hospital because in Indiana you have to be 15 to get married. Imagine the couple decides to move to North Carolina, and they have to pay for separate rental applications and credit checks because you have to be 14 to get married in North Carolina. But this is just your imagination, this 13 year old and her husband will have the rights of marriage where ever they go.
You might be repulsed by the idea of such a young girl being married, but it’s legal. And because it’s legal where they got married, the federal government recognizes their marriage and every other state recognizes their marriage. Because they’re straight.
In 1996 our government passed the Defense of Marriage Act. It ensured that the federal government and other states didn’t need to recognize same-sex marriages, even if they were legal in the state where they were performed. Same-sex marriage is now legal in five states and more states are moving in that direction. Gay and lesbian couples married in those states face the problems I described above.
Fifty-five years ago the Supreme Court decided in Brown v Board of Education that separate is “inherently unequal” and required the integration of schools. Education is a state’s right, but when it came down to discrimination, the federal government took a stand. Likewise, marriage is a state’s right, but the LGBT community needs fairness and equality. DOMA must be repealed.
Please contact your elected officials and demand marriage equality.