I’m at that point in my pile where I have nothing left but Novels and Anime, so for the moment, reviews will slow down as I make my way through longer stories. I think it’ll be like this for a bit, as I have an enormous backlog of both and I’m reading and watching as fast as I can in between games of Fruit Ninja. ^_^
So, yesterday, you may have heard that the Supreme Court of the US, wildly inconsistent and intermittently inexplicable as they are, ruled the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional. That actually doesn’t change anything for me at the moment. Let me explain – especially for European readers who tend to think of “America” in a same way they think of “Russia” – a large country with central leadership. The USA is really much more like the EU. Yes, there is a central bureaucracy and yes, that central bureaucracy can pass laws and make decisions that apply to all 50 states (countries) in the union but, in the absence of centrally passed laws, each state (country) can pretty much make its own decisions.
States that have legal same-sex marriage (SSM) also agree to recognize SSM from other states that have it. In addition, some – but not all – states with other state-level recognized agreements (Civil Unions, Domestic Partnerships) recognize legal SSM as *marriage,* full stop. But 37 states do not have legal SSM and of those, around 30 have laws that specifically ban same-sex marriage.
So, I live in the country of NJ. In this country, we have Civil Unions. These are meaningless outside our state. NJ recognizes marriages from New York, but New York does not recognize Civil Unions as anything. Nor does the Federal Government.
Florida does not recognize NJ Civil Unions nor does it recognize marriages from NY. If I fall sick in Florida, my wife can be legally kept out of my room (except that we have medical power of attorney – and they can contest that too.)
What does yesterday’s ruling mean for me? Nothing. I get no new benefits, no recognition, nothing. Unless I get married in a state that recognizes legal SSM. Because yesterday’s ruling changes nothing on the state level. It only changes how the Federal government deals with people who have been legally married in a state that allows it.
For European friends, it’s like getting married in France, then traveling to Italy, and not having any legal relationship at all.
So if you’re not in the US and you don’t really get what’s happening, it’s like this: Things the Federal Government controls, like the military and federal employees, now get benefits, no matter who they are married to – as long as they are legally married in one of the states that has legal SSM. This is very good. In fact, the Department of Defense stated that they would start providing benefits to LGB soldiers who are legally married immediately. (Transgender soldier are still technically banned…a future fight that will be fought and won.) This does not apply to coupleswho have civil unions or domestic partnerships, only marriages.
States (countries) that ban SSM still ban it. They don’t recognize it, either. But even in states that ban it, if a person has a legal marriage from another state, they can apply for benefits provided by the Federal government (like getting a deceased spouse’s Social Security benefit.) Immigration will also change. SS partners ought to find themselves treated like opposite sex partners now. In fact, a judge stopped a deportation proceeding against a man’s Colombian partner immediately after the decision. That is also an objectively good thing.
I just wanted to take a moment and unpack the decision, so non-US folks understand why I and many others are still not satisfied. Not until there is Federal level decision that requires all 50 countries to recognize my relationship. ^_^ Expect to see a lot more weddings in states that have legalized them this summer – people need to do what they can to protect themselves and their families. This is merely a step forward. There’s a lot more to do. More than half of the states prefer to treat LGBTQ folks as second-class citizens…for the moment.
So there you have it. My thoughts on this summer afternoon. And no review. I promise to get back to watching stuff shortly. ^_^