It’s time to make marriage equality an American tradition
May 30, 2013 Leave a comment
How can I accept them, can I deny everything I believe in?On the other hand, can I deny my own daughter?On the other hand, how can I turn my back on my faith, my people? If I try and bend that far, I’ll break.On the other hand…No!There is no other hand!
There was a palpable sense of history as Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the sponsor of the UAFA, gave an impassioned closing argument in support of immigration equality for same-sex couples. Other than the sound of fingers clicking keyboards, the packed hearing room was silent. Perhaps the most poignant moment was when Leahy, referring to the Defense of Marriage Act’s denial of benefits to same-sex couples, wondered, “Will our grandchildren ask why this law was even on the books?”
While it didn’t happen last week, marriage equality is destined to become the law of the land.
The UAFA could likely have passed along party lines. Several Democratic senators, including Charles Schumer (N.Y.), Durbin (Ill.), Franken (Minn.) and Klobuchar (Minn.) gave moving speeches in support of the amendment. They each spoke from the heart about family members, friends, neighbors, co-workers and others who live in an America that continues to deny them equality under the law because of who they love.
But cold, harsh political reality forced the amendment’s withdrawal. It was obvious those senators believed its passage would have torn apart bipartisan support for the immigration bill at the cost of comprehensive reform this year.
The Judiciary Committee’s failure to add the UAFA amendment was reminiscent of the defeat of the DREAM Act in 2010. There were the same tears, the same disbelief and the same sense of abandonment. But like the DREAMERs in 2010, the LGBT community and its allies will not take no for an answer. The fight for immigration equality will continue. America is changing, and so will those who today stubbornly oppose it.
After all, in the end, even Tevye gave his daughter his blessing.