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DOMA Rally Mix: Conservatives Backing Gay Marriage, Chaplains Fearing Religious Freedom at Risk

“Many of my friends in college who are gay are also either Republican or libertarian,” said one college student.

by
Rodrigo Sermeño

Bio

March 27, 2013 - 7:48 pm

WASHINGTON – Wednesday oral arguments concluded two days of presentations before the Supreme Court on the right of gay and lesbian couples to marry and receive the same benefits provided to heterosexual couples.

Protesters gathered for a second day of rallying outside of the Supreme Court for the arguments Wednesday about the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

Aside from a small – and seemingly ubiquitous – contingent from the Westboro Baptist Church, supporters of DOMA were hard to find among the diverse crowd assembled in front of the Supreme Court. There were fewer people at the demonstration, which still numbered in the thousands, and no counter rally by opponents of same-sex marriage was planned for Wednesday.

Overall, the rally continued in the same spirit as Tuesday. Both rainbow and American flags waved vigorously in the windy conditions in the nation’s capital, as some people danced to fend off the cold, while others stood silently close to the podium waiting for the day’s program to begin.

Not everyone at the rally was there exclusively to demonstrate against DOMA. Ian Finkenbinder, an organizer and writer based in Seattle, was handing flyers to raise awareness for Dan Choi’s trial on Thursday. Choi faces federal charges for chaining himself to the White House to protest “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

Finkenbinder, who was discharged from the military in 2005 after announcing to his superiors that he was gay, said he thought there was a chance that DOMA could be struck down.

“There are a lot people here who are every excited about their cause and I’m excited for them, and I hope that they get the verdict that they want,” he said.

Tyler Bowman, a junior in college, and perhaps the only person at the rally wearing a T-shirt with a message in favor of the 2nd amendment, said that he was there to let people know that not all gay people are Democrats.

“Many of my friends in college who are gay are also either Republican or libertarian,” said Bowman.

When asked about his thoughts on the possibility of a pro-gay marriage Republican presidential candidate, he said that as much as he would like to see this, he does not believe it will happen for the 2016 election.

“We’ve seen many conservatives come out in support. It’s inevitable that the majority of Republicans will at one point support same-sex marriage, but I think it’s too soon to expect the entire party to change its stance on the issue,” said Bowman.

Tyler Deaton, secretary of the New Hampshire Young Republicans, spoke to attendees about the need to repeal DOMA, saying the issue is quickly gaining support from young conservatives.

“I’m happy to be here as a representative of a new generation of conservatives who are supporting the freedom to marry,” said Deaton. “As a conservative I will tell you, DOMA reeks of big government. It treads on individual rights and it treads on the rights of families.”

“Republicans, Democrats, and Independents are uniting all across the nation to make equality a reality, and we won’t stop until every single gay and lesbian in America has the right to marry the person they love without big government getting in the way,” he continued.

A ruling is expected by the end of June on the constitutionality of DOMA saying that marriage is defined as only between one man and one woman. The legislation passed Congress with overwhelming support and President Clinton signed it into law in 1996.

Under the law, Social Security, bankruptcy and pension benefits, along with family medical leave protections and other federal marriage benefits, do not apply to gay and lesbian couples legally married in states that recognize same-sex unions.

Edith Windsor, the 83-year-old plaintiff who is challenging DOMA, said she felt respected in the court and that she expects the outcome of Wednesday’s court hearing to be positive.

Windsor married her partner, Thea Spyer, in Canada in 2007. Spyer died two years later and left her estate to Windsor, who faced an immense estate tax because DOMA does not allow gay spouses to transfer wealth tax-free.

Not everyone shared Windsor’s optimism after the conclusion of the oral arguments.

After the hearing, Rev. Robert L. Schenck, chairman of the Evangelical Church Alliance, a group that filed a brief in the case and represents thousand of civilian and military members of the clergy, told reporters that the religious liberties of the clergy and the definition of marriage are both at risk.

“While we stand for the defense of marriage as between one man and one woman, it is quite clear that that definition at the federal level is at great risk,” he said.

Schenck said he fears that the religious freedom of military chaplains and other clergy could be violated if DOMA is struck down and they are required to recognize same-sex unions.

“We have urged this court to take into consideration and explicitly guarantee the religious freedom of military chaplains, civilian chaplains who are under orders from the federal government, and other clergy who are required by law to swear an oath and uphold the constitution,” said Schenk.

After Wednesday’s presentation, Windsor said she felt “uplifted” and “humbled” to hear justices question lawyers about her case.

She reflected on how much times had changed since she met Thea in 1963.

“I am today an out lesbian who just sued the United States of America,” she said. “I’m speaking to you guys freely. I’d have been hiding in a closet 10 years ago.”

Rodrigo is a freelance writer living in Washington, D.C.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
That's a piss-poor argument.

Why would a Jewish couple be married in a Catholic church? Homosexuals and their ilk argue that they were born the way they are. To contrast, a person is not born into a religion, rather religion is a choice. Because homosexuals (& etc.) claim to be born as such, they can argue that they are being discriminated against, a la race or gender.

As such, religious freedom does play a major part in this.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (15)
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Get out from under the 501(c)3, Mr. Preacher. Then, talk to me about religious freedom.

Yeah. Look into it. One of the reasons why preachers skip certain verses in your bible when they preach from the pulpit? Yeah. That nice 501(c)3. ...among other things which are restricted religious speech in your church by the 501(c).

Of course, your church leaders don't talk about that. Especially if they're on staff and getting a paycheck and bennies.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
--- "Aside from a small – and seemingly ubiquitous – contingent from the Westboro Baptist Church, supporters of DOMA were hard to find among the diverse crowd assembled in front of the Supreme Court."

Who has time for this crap? I mean, outside of the state of Minnesota.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
We run into gender anomolies on a regular basis in all species and with our ability to create havoc with our gnome it will continue into the future. We are now into the third generation of the DES, super estrogen mess of the 1940s. This is the results of an English Chemist nightmare concoction that was supposed to stop spontaneous abortions but instead created problems in both female and male fetus development in some 27 million America babies between 1940 and 1971. Google DES and follow the bread crumbs if your interested in stupid government programs.... This will lead you to many problems with GMOs and other would be advances in science....
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I see this as a 10th amendment issue. The federal government has NO business defining marriage in any fashion, whether it is pro or anti. The federal involvement in marriage, altogether, should be nil.

IF the federal government comes into this on either direction, it will violate the 10th amendment. AND, if they rule in favor of the pro-gay side, they may even violate the first amendment. If they rule in favor of the anti-gay side, they might (not convinced) violate the Equal Protection clause.

Regardless, any tactic the court takes, other than to rule that the federal government HAS NO SAY in this, will be wrong.

This issue should belong to the Churches and local jurisdictions (in the case of courthouse weddings), though the states probably have legal right to go over the head of both (as long as such does not violate a right guaranteed in the Constitution, then Supremacy Clause takes effect). As long as states allow gay marriage, they must still allow churches the right to refuse to conduct them, in the name of the 1st amendment. A state banning gay marriage may or may not violate the Equal Protection clause, which is why it should be up to the Churches and local jurisdictions. Regardless, whatever the outcome, CHURCHES MUST BE ALLOWED TO REFUSE.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Not to throw a monkey wrench into the discussion, but I would argue that gender differences are unstable and changing all the time. Yet we accept bureaucratic definitions of reality. I wrote about that here: http://clarespark.com/2013/03/27/power-in-gay-andor-heterosexual-attachments/. This is not either for or against gay marriages, but about the categories that compel our allegiance.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
This has nothing to do with religious freedom. They are inventing fears of clergy being forced to conduct weddings they don't wish to conduct.

And yet, in this nation, people of every religious denomination have the right to marry, and no one has ever heard of a case of a Catholic priest being forced to marry two Mormons, Jews, Muslims, or Hindus.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
In Denmark the legislature just passed legislation forcing churches to marry homosexuals:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/denmark/9317447/Gay-Danish-couples-win-right-to-marry-in-church.html

Notice it says "right" to marry in church. I just heard on Laura Ingraham's show a move somewhere to challenge the tax exempt status of "anti-gay" schools. I guess that would include all religious schools this side of the MCC if they have a school.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
If I'm being kind, I'd chalk your comment up to naivete. This is very much the prelude to an assault on First Amendment rights. You may not care about that but false statements such as yours cannot go unchallenged. Hopefully you are merely ignorant, which would imply that you can educate yourself. Otherwise, your weak attempt to deny reality only proves the falseness of your statement. Your second statement is simply ridiculous. That's why I'm inclined to believe that you are merely ignorant, not malicious.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
That's a piss-poor argument.

Why would a Jewish couple be married in a Catholic church? Homosexuals and their ilk argue that they were born the way they are. To contrast, a person is not born into a religion, rather religion is a choice. Because homosexuals (& etc.) claim to be born as such, they can argue that they are being discriminated against, a la race or gender.

As such, religious freedom does play a major part in this.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
TheRealGman:

If homosexuality is a choice, then logically heterosexuality must be also. If you don't mind, would you tell us when and why you chose heterosexuality? Thanks.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I don't think it works that way. Not that there's anything wrong with it!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Homosexuals argue they are born the way they are" unless it is convenient for them to argue on the basis of preference. The arguments are always mutable, always political.

And, they are nonsense either way. If homosexual behavior were not a choice, "bisexuality" would not exist.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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