DOMA is Done, But Gay Floridians Still Must Defeat the State's Anti-Gay-Marriage Amendment
Though SCOTUS eviscerated DOMA, gay Floridians still have a lot of work ahead
Published: July 3, 2013
Highlights included rousing speeches from Orlando city commissioner Patty Sheehan and state Rep. Linda Stewart, along with a suitably camped and vamped version of the Les Miserables anthem “Do You Hear the People Sing?” by the Orlando Gay Chorus. But even that harmonic convergence of queer righteousness couldn’t drown out the evening’s real star, everybody’s worst-kept-secret choice for Orange County Mayor in 2014, Val Demings. “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all people are created equal,” she paraphrased something famous that was once written in calligraphy. So possessed was her performance that you almost couldn’t hear the crowd chanting “Mayor, mayor, mayor” back at her.
Of course, not every political force of nature was pleased with the Supreme Court decision. Gov. Rick Scott had let this one squeak out of his pants: “It impacted federal law, not state law,” Scott said according to the Miami Herald’s Naked Politics. “In 2008, Florida voters amended our constitution and said that we are a traditional-marriage state, that marriage is between a man and a woman. As the governor of this state, I’ll uphold the law of the land, and that’s the law of our state.”
“Look, I’ve been married since I was 19. I believe in traditional marriage,” he added, because nobody really wants to think about that bedtime story.
Perhaps more embarrassing was the statement issued by U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, most recently noted for gay-panicking and doggie paddling his way out of bipartisan immigration reform if it even so much as looked at him sideways like a gay person. Rubio is not happy about the DOMA ruling on its face.
“I believe that marriage is a unique historical institution best defined as the union between one man and one woman. In the U.S., marriage has traditionally been defined by state law, and I believe each state, acting through their elected representatives or the ballot, should decide their own definition of marriage. For the purposes of federal law, however, Congress had every right to adopt a uniform definition and I regret that the Supreme Court would interfere with that determination,” he said in his statement.
Perhaps even more intriguing, though, is the fact that among the 1,138 rights that same-sex couples in Florida will have to wait for regardless of the DOMA ruling, one right got its first real gay airing in the Sunshine State just two days after the historic Supreme Court decision. Ft. Lauderdale couple Julian Marsh and Traian “Tray” Popov, married legally in New York last year, were the first to be approved under the new policy for the latter’s green card application on Friday. Florida, it should be noted, ranks third in the nation for bi-national same-sex couples, so though it may feel like we’re not benefiting much from everybody else’s pride parade, we’re still capable of achieving things that make Rubio stay up late and pout all night.
And until we can pull out every lawsuit possible and stage whatever political mechanism necessary in order to democratically erase the stain of the Amendment 2 gay-marriage ban from our state constitution, and, well, fire everybody in power who sleeps on Bibles instead of pillows, maybe that little bit of schadenfreude will have to do.
Happy Dependence Day, some of America! Someday we’ll all be free to be not free!
> Email Billy Manes