01610: Why the DOMA Decision Matters Outside the US

In what can only be described as a landmark ruling, the US Supreme Court today ruled that the Defense Against Marriage Act or DOMA was unconstitutional. At the same time, they dismissed the challenge to the ban against California's Proposition 8 on a bit of a technicality.

These cases have certainly been subject to global scrutiny and debate over the past few months as the world as watched to see how the SCOTUS would handle these unique legal challenges. After all, the impact of these rulings would become precedents in future legal arguments for or against LGBT rights challenges in that country.

But at the same time, we cannot ignore the fact that many countries, especially democratic allies like the Philippines, always look to the US as the model for their own policies and decisions. A lot of our laws and principles of government were "borrowed" from the US and other nations. And thus for a country like to the US to take such a huge step forward in support of LGBT rights is extremely significant, even if we as a country still can't even get anti-discrimination laws passed to better protect the LGBT community as of this time.

Beyond that, the fight for LGBT rights is a global struggle that is taking place in pretty much every country around that world. And if only because of that shared struggle with millions of LGBT individuals around the world, we are all one people, one pink nation fighting for our rights. Thus the victory of one community is the victory of all and yet more fuel for the fire of our determination to see this fight to the end.

Back to the ruling, there's still a lot to be happy about. Removing the legal impediment that is DOMA paves the way for a lot of same-sex married couples to gain access to a wide variety of federal benefits long denied to them. In the former status quo, it cost couples thousands of dollars to get the same rights as straight married couples due to complex steps like the need to adopt your own child and other factors.

But the bigger challenge remains in terms of making the the rest of the government decide with some finality whether or not same-sex marriages should happen at all. The tricky decision made on Proposition 8 did not answer the question of whether or not it was legal for states to impose same-sex marriage bans. And I had a big feeling this was the way it was going to go - it was the easier solution to question how private entities could step forward to defend a legal matter that the state had chosen not to defend.

So while there is a lot to celebrate today, there's also a very long road ahead for LGBTs rights advocates in the US and around the world. But at least we are in fact moving forward and I look forward to the day that our own government finally comes to reason or maybe just blatantly copy whatever the US does and allows me to finally marry the man I love.

A guy is always free to dream.
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