The life lessons from the Kim Kardashian-Kris Humphries sham-scam marriage are numerous. Our society has become interested in fake celebrities to the point of exhaustion; sex sells; American society is dumbing down in record time; and so on and so forth. But the most important lesson that society can take from this sorry episode in pop culture is that the Federal “Defense of Marriage Act” or DOMA must be repealed. The following excerpts are the main provisions of the Act:
Section 2. Powers reserved to the states
No State, territory, or possession of the United States, or Indian tribe, shall be required to give effect to any public act, record, or judicial proceeding of any other State, territory, possession, or tribe respecting a relationship between persons of the same sex that is treated as a marriage under the laws of such other State, territory, possession, or tribe, or a right or claim arising from such relationship.
Section 3. Definition of marriage
In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the United States, the word ‘marriage’ means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word ‘spouse’ refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.
DOMA’s Section 3 prevents the federal government from recognizing the validity of same-sex marriages. This means that the 1,138 federal statutes in which benefits, rights, and privileges are contingent on marital status or in which marital status is a factor are being applied only to heterosexual couples even if homosexual couples were legally married in their State. Apart from being deprived form the full protection of Federal laws, gay couples are also facing different tax issues. In NY for example, a couple could file State tax returns jointly but must file Federal taxes returns individually.And it is that individual rate that must be applied to their State tax returns.
The underlying stated basis for DOMA has always been “the sanctity of marriage.” The preferred source for the legislative history of DOMA is the report of the committee that wrote the thing, in this case, the 1996 Judiciary Committee report—”H.R. Rep. 104-664, Defense of Marriage Act.” The report explains that Congress was acting because the Hawaii state court was about to permit homosexual couples to “marry.” (Each time the Judiciary Committee referred to same-sex unions, it put scare quotes around the word marriage.) It also left out the language used by one of the law’s leading proponents:
“Closely related to the interest in promoting traditional marriage is a corresponding interest in promoting heterosexuality.[R]eason suggest[s] that we guard against doing anything which might mislead wavering children into perceiving society as indifferent to the sexual orientation they develop.” (Why isn’t society indifferent to the sexual orientation kids develop?) But despite this homophobic rhetoric, the report conveniently only lists the four reasons for promulgating DOMA: “defending and nurturing the institution of traditional, heterosexual marriage; defending traditional notions of morality; protecting state sovereignty and democratic self-governance; and preserving scarce government resources.”
How can “Defending and nurturing traditional marriage” be the basis for support of this Act any further? Say what you like about Kim Kardashian – she is one of the most popular figures in pop culture today. This year (before the divorce) she was the 9th most googled woman in the world producing over 232,000,000 results. So clearly if this woman who is in the minds and hearts of so many American people can treat marriage like a commodity, then the entire foundation for DOMA has to be questioned. Other aspects of pop culture also reveal that America hardly sees marriage as sacred any more. There are currently at least four very popular “reality” shows that have an engagement or marriage as their final prize. You can get married by a fake Elvis in Las Vegas or even in your car with a drive thru marriage. A man and a woman who get married in a car by a fake Elvis in Las Vegas after having been together for one night have more rights than a gay couple who have been together for twenty years and want to sanctify their relationship through marriage. To deny this right and all the privileges attendant to it because “marriage is a sacred” makes no sense and Kim’s 72 hour ( I mean day) marriage is further proof that the law is based on a weak premise and must be repealed.