Our View: Down with DOMA

 

Our View: Down with DOMA

 

Date: June 27, 2013
by: Observer Staff

 
 

 

We are all likely to drown over the next few days in the news and commentaries on the U.S. Supreme Court’s rejection of Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act. The court said it was unconstitutional.

This is likely to become our next Roe v. Wade.

“DOMA,” as this 1996 legislation is known, allows states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages performed under the laws of other states and restricts the dispensing of many federal benefits on the basis of marital status in such areas as insurance benefits for government employees, Social Security survivors’ benefits, immigration and the filing of joint tax returns.

Congress, in effect, decided not to recognize same-sex marriages when it defined marriage in Section 3 of DOMA. It says:

Marriage is a legal union only 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.

In effect, Congress created a new class of separate and unequal people.

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court ruled this unconstitutional — specifically Section 3 of DOMA.

We have always wondered why Congress, to begin with, must compel itself to meddle in people’s personal relationships. Indeed, today’s social wars over same-sex marriage are the inevitable result of lawmakers — at the state and federal levels — extending their tentacles where they shouldn’t.

In the purest sense of the ideals of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” the State has no business regulating the joining of individuals in marriage, be they of opposite sex or same sex. In this sense, marriage is a contract between two individuals, and all such contracts should be treated the same under the law. The State should not show preferences in conferring benefits.

Unfortunately, lawmakers are lawmakers. And what they do day in and day out is pick and choose one group over another. And look at the messes they make.

+ Scott’s rating on the upswing
You probably won’t read the following anywhere in Florida’s major mainstream media. It’s positive news about Florida Gov. Rick Scott.

The devil of Florida’s mainstream media, Scott in his two and a half years as governor rarely, if ever, has received credit in the news media for the job he is doing. Indeed, they have mostly fixated on the governor’s low approval ratings. They revel in them.

So, in case you don’t read or hear it elsewhere, here’s the news: A recent poll of 600 likely voters shows Floridians have an increasingly favorable view of the job Scott is doing. His approval rating has risen to 52%, up from 47% in March. Six months ago, it stood in the mid-20% range.

What’s more, 45% of likely Florida voters believe Florida is heading in the right direction. A year ago, that percentage was 36%.

Now, you might be inclined to dismiss these percentages because of the organizations sponsoring and conducting the poll. The pro-business, pro-Scott Florida Chamber of Commerce commissioned the poll, and the Cherry Communications Co., a Tallahassee research firm that has done polling for Republican candidates, conducted the poll.

The margin of error: plus or minus 4%.

We’ll believe the poll. Here’s why: Governors, like presidents, are judged to a large extent on the state of the economy. We all remember Bill Clinton’s famous line: “It’s the economy, stupid.”

To that end, ever since Scott’s inauguration in January 2011, Florida’s economy consistently has shown improvement. Private-sector employment has increased by more than 330,000 jobs. Positive job growth has occurred 34 consecutive months. And unemployment has fallen from 11.3% in 2010 to 7.1%, below the national average of 7.6%.

Although Scott single-handedly is not responsible for these results, he deserves more credit than anyone else for setting the tone to create a favorable business climate in Florida. Scott is doing what governors should do. He’s selling the state to business owners and employers. And he’s incessantly reminding Florida lawmakers to enact policies that make Florida attractive to businesses.

There’s an old saying in business: Increased sales solve a lot of problems. Scott knows this. Every time he persuades a business owner to move to Florida or expand his work force, Scott closes a sale and improves Floridians’ quality of life.

Finally, voters are taking notice.

FAITH & JEANS
What does this say about America?
Social media channels were overflowing Tuesday morning with photos, chatter and commentaries about the jeans Nik Wallenda wore on his Grand Canyon achievement. Here’s an excerpt from one of the Glamour magazine bloggers:

“When tightrope walker Nik Wallenda started his now legendary walk across the Grand Canyon, you would think we would have been transfixed by how he was risking his life to perform this death-defying stunt …

“This morning, Nik told DJs at New York City radio station 95.5 WPLJ that he was wearing his ‘favorite brand,’ Buffalo Jeans, which cost $99. Buffalo promptly decided to change the style from the ‘Six’ jean to the ‘Nik.’

“Is there any chance these jeans could become a hot ticket item now that Nik wore them? Did you watch Nik walk the tightrope last night? Did you think twice about his decision to wear jeans?”

In contrast, one aspect of Wallenda’s feat that impressed us was his praying and praise for God and Jesus.
Americans often squirm and wince at celebrities who are unabashed and open about their faith (i.e. Tim Tebow).

But in Wallenda’s walk on that tiny wire 1,500 feet above a river, we witnessed two awesome powers: The power of one man’s determination and skill and the power of prayer and the Almighty.

BY THE NUMBERS
We searched Google for the number of times the following terms appear together (ranked in order):
Nik Wallenda / God 24,300,000
Nik Wallenda / jeans 17,400,000
Nik Wallenda / Thanks God 8,820,000
Nik Wallenda / Jesus 3,710,000

Welcome Wallenda
Nik Wallenda will lead the Grand Prix boat parade at 7 p.m. July 5 down Main Street.

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