Gay Marriage – North-South Divide

Gay MarriageLooking at a U.S. map in 2014 of marriage equality states – where same-sex couples can legally get married – is remarkably similar to the divide between the North and the South in 1861 at the beginning of the Civil War. Legality of gay marriage is not comparable to the devastation of human lives through slavery, but in both cases, examples abound of harm to innocent lives because laws exclude their families.

Gay MarriageLesbian and gay residents of Massachusetts are fortunate in that, even before it became the first state to legally recognize marriage equality, same-sex parents could legally adopt children together. The contrast is vast with what happens in states where the laws are different regarding gay marriage.

For example, two Louisiana men – Nick Van Sickels and Andrew Bond – were legally wed in Washington, D.C. They adopted a baby girl, but only one parent can be listed on her birth certificate, preventing any legal rights to the other. Although they are raising her together, every year they are required to complete paperwork whereby one partner relinquishes rights on the decisions for the child’s education and healthcare. The repercussions of such actions are demoralizing for both members of the couple, as well as their child, when she is old enough to understand.

Another Louisiana example is that of Dale Liuzza, a gay man who raised his son together with his partner, but when his ex-partner left with the child after their relationship dissolved, he could do nothing to stop him. And he no longer had access to the boy he raised. Since in Louisiana second-parent adoption is illegal, as is marriage equality, Dale cannot legally challenge his partner’s action. More than 2 million children nationwide are being brought up by LGBT parents and face risks of hardship similar to those that Dale is experiencing.

Political leaders in the South claim that they must uphold the laws of the Constitution. Governor Bobby Jindal (R-LA) defends the illegality of gay marriage, saying that to debate such laws constitutes an attack on freedom of religion.

For those LGBT couples who have married after many years without the rights and responsibilities of that legality, and for those who have children, the act of marriage is both a relief and incredulous. Federally, there are 1,138 benefits, rights and protections afforded to all couples who marry. For the majority of heterosexual couples, these are unnoticed and seamlessly weave into their lives. But for those who have lived without them, the reality comes as an unexpected and happy surprise. The list includes social security, tax on employer-provided health benefits, income tax credit on children, removal of estate tax and tax on retirement savings, family and medical leave, immigration law, employee benefits, COBRA, and many others.

Gay Marriage - North-South Divide..

Fifteen countries – Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, Sweden and the United Kingdom – recognize same-sex marriage. Yet, the U.S., among developed nations, does not. Even though in June 2013 portions of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) were overturned, if a state upholds the illegality of same-sex marriage, the unions of lesbian and gay couples living there will not be recognized. Such is the case of all of the states of the South.

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), based in Alabama, was founded in 1971with the intention of carrying out civil rights for all. Since the mid-1970s, the SPLC has pioneered the rights, and served as an advocate for same-sex couples residing in the South. Their first case, known as Hoffman, was to challenge the decision against an Alabama resident Army service member who had married her partner and was subsequently discharged from duty. Although not every case that the SPLC fights is overturned, the resounding message is that, having an advocate is paramount for marriage equality to succeed. And, visibility normalizes gay marriage so that, in states such as Massachusetts where it has been the standard for a decade, a teenager’s response to seeing the map of marriage inequality is, “That’s sad.”

By Fern Remedi-Brown
Mass Equality
Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)

6 Responses to "Gay Marriage – North-South Divide"

  1. Jenelle Wicklund   February 20, 2019 at 7:04 am

    Hi, just came across this website. Its a great illustration of how small to medium sized firms can use Awards based marketing to get their companies ranked on the 1st page of Google. Awards programmes offer many benefits to participants. After all they bring recognition and you can share the news of your win with your employees, clients, industry peers and target market as many times as you like. Additonally awards offer prestige and status, giving potential clients peace of mind that they are working with a reputable company. There are many types of awards programmes, including those that host awards ceremonies (and you pay per table), organisations that award only their members (and you pay for membership and sponsorship) and those that provide promotional materials. The latter is a great choice for those who are wary about the benefits of using corporate awards programmes because generally nominees and winners do not have to pay a penny to be a participant. Winners often receives online exposure, usually with a reach much greater than their own marketing efforts can offer. Other free benefits can include the use of an announcement. Most participants have the option to purchase additional marketing materials to further utilise their win, if they wish to, for use in social media campaigns, on their own website, email marketing campaigns or in customer newsletters.

  2. Jhkgf   May 15, 2014 at 2:04 am

    You can’t just lead the South to water…you must make him drink.

  3. Dale   February 28, 2014 at 6:00 pm

    I am Dale. I HAVE won access to my son after 33 months of fighting different state courts!!! I have a second parent adoption rights to my son!!!!

  4. uwe   February 27, 2014 at 9:39 am

    Shame on all the stinking beasts – yes, that’s what they are – who recognise homosexuality. Human rights? Bunkum. Those is in support of this utter depravity and abomination are cursed, and will remain so until they repent of this stark evil against God and humanity.

  5. John   February 25, 2014 at 9:46 am

    10 reasons why same-sex “marriage” is not marriage.
    — not natural
    — nobody is born homosexual (not genetic)
    — always sterile union
    — big health risk, etc.

    Good read.

  6. F Young   February 21, 2014 at 2:38 pm

    “Fifteen countries – Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, Sweden and the United Kingdom – recognize same-sex marriage. Yet, the U.S., among developed nations, does not.”

    That statement is incorrect if you mean countries that recognize same-sex marriages performed domestically. The actual 15 countries would be Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, South Africa, Sweden and Uruguay. In addition, same-sex marriages perfomed in some parts of Mexico, the US and the UK are recognized in at least those parts of those countries.

    There are some countries (e.g. Israel) that do not recognize same-sex marriages performed domestically, but recognize them if they were performed elsewhere.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.