Wednesday, June 26th, 2013
The Supreme Court overturned the Defense of Marriage Act earlier today, 17 years after the law blocked the federal recognition of gay marriage. A separate case was also declined, making it legal for same-sex couples to marry again in California.
Before today’s landmark decision, gay couples faced many obstacles in terms of marriage equality. They didn’t receive Family Medical Leave Act benefits, Social Security survivor benefits, veteran benefits, benefits for spouses of federal employees, and spousal impoverishment protection for Medicaid long-term care. In addition, gay couples paid almost $1,000 more in yearly taxes and dealt with higher estate taxes.
Justice Anthony Kennedy, who wrote for the majority of the decision, said, “Striking down DOMA would give dignity to same-sex families and help end suffering of children caused by the current law.”
Children of same-sex parents will benefit from an increased income in the household because they can now be covered under the same health insurance policy as their parents. These families will also have access to Social Security benefits.
Cheers could be heard outside the Supreme Court, but the loudest cheers were coming from same-sex parents. These couples have the same rights as any other husband and wife. Children are realizing that they’re as good as everyone else, regardless of who their parents love.
Image: Courthouse via Shutterstock
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Friday, August 3rd, 2012
Same-sex marriage has been on my mind, but not because of a certain chicken restaurant. On Sunday I’m going to the wedding of a cherished friend, who is marrying his boyfriend of nine years. When the dress I’d ordered for it arrived last week, I tried it on, explaining to my daughter Julia (who turns 7 at the end of the month) where I planned to wear it.
Julia: Who’s getting married?
Me: My friend Glenn.
Julia: Who’s he marrying?
Me: A man named Jeffrey.
She stopped chewing her bagel and was immediately puzzled.
Julia: A man?
Me: Yes. Men can marry men if they want to, and women can marry women. I don’t think you know anyone who’s done that, but I do…
Then her face got red and I could see that she was almost going to cry.
Julia: I am very confused.
Me: I know, honey. I can understand that. But what’s the matter?
Julia: If they have babies, then they won’t have a mommy, just two daddies.
Me: Aw, but that’s okay. You only need one parent who loves you, and many kids have two if they’re lucky.
She was still totally flustered and actually had tears in her eyes.
Julia: But how do they have a baby if they’re two men?
Me: Well, they can adopt a baby. Remember we talked about adopting?
And that was pretty much that. The topic hasn’t come up since, but I wondered if I’d handled it correctly. Did I say the right things?
I turned to Deborah Roffman, a sex educator in Baltimore who’s been teaching children and counseling families for more than 30 years. I thought she’d be an ideal person to ask since she just came out with a very helpful book called Talk to Me First: Everything You Need to Know to Become Your Kids’ “Go-To” Person About Sex. “I think you did great. My guess is that you might have been unnerved by her reaction,” she ventured. Yep, I said–honestly, I feared that it revealed some underlying prejudice. “This subject makes us feel insecure, and we worry that we have to be so very careful with it, but we really don’t,” said Roffman. She believes Julia had a pretty basic assumption about the world–men only marry women–and it was scary to her that she was wrong, that she didn’t understand something so fundamental to her. “Her reaction was more about the confusion than the topic.”
Then she gently suggested that with subjects like this, I consider being more proactive going forward. In this case, I could’ve prepared Julia by saying something like, “Listen, I’m going to a wedding next weekend and it’s going to be interesting, and I want to tell you about it. Most couples you know, like me and Daddy, are women and men. But it’s also possible for men to marry men, and for women to marry women. My friend Glenn is marrying a man named Jeffrey.”
Her advice really made sense to me. “A lot of parents hesitate with stuff like this, thinking, I have to wait until my child asks. No, you don’t,” she explained. “It’s a little easier, sometimes, if they ask questions, but with the important things in life, you want to front-load, so your point of view can get there first.”
Have you had tricky conversations like this with your child? How’d it go?
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Friday, May 13th, 2011
Smile, kids! You’re on calorie camera
Health officials trying to reduce obesity and improve eating habits at five San Antonio elementary schools unveiled a $2 million research project Wednesday that will photograph students’ lunch trays before they sit down to eat and later take a snapshot of the leftovers. A computer program then analyzes the photos to identify every piece of food on the plate — right down to how many ounces are left in that lump of mash potatoes — and calculates the number of calories each student scarfed down. (MSNBC)
School Bans Same-Sex Couples from Prom
A Long Island high school will not allow same-sex couples at its senior prom next month, according to school officials. St. Anthony’s high school in South Huntington is a co-ed, Roman Catholic institution of about 2,500 students. One of those students, Angelina Lange, 17, of Bay Shore, requested permission to bring a former girlfriend as her date to the prom. School officials turned her down. “We thought it would send a mixed message to OK her request,” said school principal and Franciscan, Brother Gary. “Our Catholic faith specifies that marriage involves a man and a woman and our policies on dating must reflect that,” he added. (MSNBC)
Scientists find MRSA germ in supermarket meats
MRSA, a bacteria resistant to common antibiotics, has been discovered in supermarket meats, and the germ is apparently being introduced by human food handlers, a new study reports. Although thorough cooking will kill the bacteria, consumers run the risk of infection if they handle meats contaminated with the germ, researchers said. (USA Today)
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Tuesday, March 8th, 2011
Today marks the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day, “a global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future.” In fact in China, Russia and Vietnam it’s a national holiday.
Suffragettes have been paving the way for generations. In the last 100 years, women have made leaps of progress, but there is no denying inequalities still exist such as the ongoing sexual violence against women in the Congo or honor killings in the Middle East. Luckily every year the injustices grow smaller. Just look at the past year. Argentina legalized same sex marriage, the first Latin American country. In Nigeria, women fought to stop the Nudity Bill from passing. The bill suggested, “…women over age 14 would be punished for wearing necklines lower than two inches or clothing that exposed any parts of their belly, waist, or thighs. If passed, violators would have to pay a fine between $65 and $325 or serve up to six-months in prison. ”
It’s also a day to celebrate mothers just like you. How about the strides moms make at home and at work? So celebrate the moms who’ve managed to instate childcare at work and moms fighting for better maternity leave plans. Celebrate the moms who’ve managed to potty train their toddler this year or the mom reinvigorating her marriage after years of raising kids and working too hard.
Find an event near you and commemorate the groundbreaking work women around the world are doing.
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