While the march of states legalising same-sex marriage seems to have slowed in the USA, interesting things are happening nationally.
Despite President Obama pledging to repeal  the Defence Of Marriage Act (DOMA) that prevents the federal government from recognising same-sex marriage or gays and lesbians as any other form of spouses, his administration has had to defend DOMA from a number of legal challenges while it remains.
And the latest of these is of truly titanic proportions -” the State of Massachusetts is suing the United States of America.
Massachusetts became the first US state to legalise same-sex marriage in 2003, and in the six years since has married 16,000 same-sex couples.  However, in the US, while states determine who can get married, many of the financial benefits married couples enjoy flow from the Federal Government and DOMA specifically dams that flow. Massachusetts sees this denial of funds to its wedded gays as a de facto violation of its right to make laws.
The Fed’s defence of the policy has been somewhat lame, rather than an opposition based on moral grounds, it contends allowing Federal benefits to married gays in six states would effectively steal away tax dollars from States who deny them recognition -” as the more people your state allows to get married, the more couples you have with their hands out.
So mainstream now is the cause of same-sex marriage in the US that it now counts among its supporters former Republican vice-president Dick Cheney, and former Republican congressman Bob Barr, the man who actually wrote the Defence Of Marriage Act.
Victories in Federal Courts finally turned the tide in ending racial segregation in the United States and a win by the State of Massachusetts could represent a tide turning here too, while providing full benefits denied under DOMA to close to a 100,000 same-sex couples across the six states to have legalised them.
Meanwhile,  in Scotland, the campaign to allow same-sex couples to marry has the support of growing numbers of politicians in the Scottish National, Labor, Liberal Democrat and Green parties and liberal clergy from both the Anglican Church and Church of Scotland, not just for civil marriages but for church ones too.
And the dam may be cracking in Australia with the announcement of an inquiry into the Greens’ Marriage Equality Amendment Bill.
Make sure you lodge a submission before it reports back in November. In the meantime, a big turn out to protests at the Labor Party’s National Conference on August 1st may force the Government to change its tune.

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