Tag Archives: Marriage equality

Election 2012: Winners and Losers

November 6th was a big night in so many ways, but maybe not in the ones you might think. Before the election, Barack Obama was President, so that remains unchanged. Before the election, the House was in Republican control, and the Senate was lead by the Democrats. That remains unchanged. So what exactly happened last night that was so important if the status quo reigend supreme?

Our country forged new paths toward equality, electing the largest number of women to the United States Senate in history (Still not equal representation though). The state of Wisconsin also made history with the election of our nation’s first openly gay Senator, Tammy Baldwin. The states of Washington, Maryland and Maine joing the ever-growing ranks of those who allow full marrige equality to GLBT couples. But now, for the first time, marriage equality was not approved by the courts, or by a legislature, but by statewide referenda. This means that without a doubt, large portions of our population now support marriage equality. With the re-election of President Obama, the chances of these newly-acquired rights being rolled back have decreased as well. Most expect that anyone he nominates to the Supreme Court would not endanger the GLBT civil rights movement.

So because of all of these things, I don’t actually think that President Obama “won” the night. The real winner of last night was the American People.

And the loser? The GOP’s “dark money” strategy.

After having to endure years of filthy political ads and shady campaign spending thanks to the wave from Citizens United, after people like Sheldon Adelson, the Koch Brothers and Karl Rove spending hundreds of millions to defeat Obama and Senate Democrats, it’s becoming clear that they did not meet their goal. The Democrats had FAR less to work with on the money end, and were still able to survive the election. They flushed more than one BILLION dollars down the drain, and they are not getting it back. Should anyone be surprised that Wall Street isn’t happy today?

The United States has proven that it cannot be bought, no matter what the price. And hopefully, that gives people of all political stripes something to be proud of. As the GOP begins a long search to find its soul, I hope they will realize just how corrosive dark money lies can be to the political system. Maybe next time, they’ll work to improve their message, instead of giving the messenger more tricks up his sleeve.

A test for DOMA in the health care fight??

Of course the main swarm of the newsday is buzzing around the Supreme Court, but soon we’ll be talking about some big moves going on in the lower courts that will set up another Supreme Showdown. According to Chris Geidner at PoliGlot, the Obama Administration has asked the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to fast-track it’s review of a case that alleges the Defense of Marriage Act violates the equal protection clause. This case involves Karen Golinski, who’s wife (married in California) was denied Health Care Coverage because eventhough gay marriage was legal in California at the time, DOMA allowed the insurance company to block her coverage. The Obama administration has called it out and is now pursuing DOMA for discrimination.

Recall that the Obama Administration is no longer defending DOMA… it has already declared the 1994 law unconstitutional. Instead, our tax-payer dollars are being spent by House Republicans on the Bi-Partisan Legal Action Group, or BLAG. Don’t let the “Bi-Partisan” name fool you, this effort is entirely from the GOP, as it was approved by a 3-2 party line vote.

How does this affect the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare?? There is no mention of guaranteed coverage for domestic partners in the ACA (the House version of the Bill had domestic partner protections, but they were scrapped in the Senate version of the Bill). But if the ACA is upheld by the Supreme Court, it could potentially weaken DOMA even further by ending other broad discriminatory practices by health insurance companies. Proving that the Defense of Marriage Act is discriminatory would cause portions of it to be struck down, or end the law entirely. So as we all watch the showdown over the Individual Mandate, know that another big court fight is ahead… possibly before the General Election.