Happy Birthday, Mr. Lincoln: Eric Holder Advocates for More Equal Rights for Same Sex Couples
- 14 February 2014
- Cindy Vova
- 0 Comments
Yesterday was Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. You remember Abe, and his infamous Gettysburg Address, wherein in 1863 he declared that our forefather, 87 years before, founded a nation “dedicated to the proposition that all men were created equal.” Yes, when he said it, I suppose it really meant “men,” since remember women (let alone slaves) could not even vote at that time.
So what more appropriate week could there be for US Attorney General Eric Holder to announce that the federal government would now recognize same sex marriages in federal courtrooms, prisons and in some federal benefit programs.
The intent is now that same sex spouses will be granted “spousal immunity” in federal civil and criminal cases, meaning that they will not be required to testify against one another in court, a privilege that has long existed for traditional married couples. Additionally, same sex couples will be eligible for certain federal programs, including a program providing death benefits to spouses of firefighters and police officers killed in the line of duty and for compensation for victims of 9/11. Same sex couples would also be able to file joint bankruptcies (which is governed by federal, not state law) and have the same visitation privileges as traditional married couples. The best part…..this new federal directive applies even in states (Florida, for example) where same sex marriage is not recognized, as long as the couple was married in a state that does recognize same sex marriage.
HURRAY! That’s all I can say. This is long overdue. I mean, really, I would hope that even the most narrow-minded person among us would be forever in debt to a firefighter who gave his/her life to save someone, yet would deny that firefighter’s same sex spouse the right to death benefits. If two people hold sacred between them the bonds of marriage, then regardless of sexual orientation, they are entitled to the same rights as the next person. Now it’s time for the remaining 33 states to catch up. (Not to mention Russia..just saying Mr. P)
Mr. Holder, as the first African American US Attorney General, did not (nor should he have) miss the opportunity to note that he is carrying on the work of his predecessors, who were instrumental in the fight for the civil rights 50 years ago.
So 151 years later, on the week of your birthday, Mr. Lincoln, we, as a nation, move closer to that founding “proposition” of equality for all. A happy birthday indeed!