Professional Associations in the US Back Gay Marriage

12 Aug 2009

Both the National Education Association (NEA) and the American Bar Association (ABA) have adopted resolutions backing GLBT rights, including the right of gay and lesbian couples to marry.

At its annual meeting in Chicago last week, the ABA policy-making House of Delegates passed a resolution that calls on lawmakers to repeal Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Delegates approved the measured without debate with an overwhelming voice vote.

Section 3 of DOMA bars federal agencies from recognizing legal gay marriages.

"This is a very modest recommendation, some would even say a conservative recommendation," Estelle Rogers, a lawyer who is a consultant on civil rights, told ABA Journal.

While the resolution's summary says the recommendation is neutral on the subject of granting gays the right to marry, it does go on to call DOMA "unfair."

"The enactment of DOMA Section 3 has deprived thousands of lawfully married same-sex spouses of the range of federal protections they would otherwise receive, making it difficult for them to provide for one another and subjecting them to financial hardship and uncertainty," the resolution says.

Last month, in San Diego, the NEA's governing body also approved a raft of pro-gay resolutions.

Without naming the legislation, the NEA voiced its support for repeal of DOMA, passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), a bill currently before Congress that would ban employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act, a bill that would extend health-care and retirement benefits to the gay and lesbian spouses of federal employees, and the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA), a bill that would allow gay and lesbian Americans to sponsor an immigrant partner for citizenship.

The NEA also said it would "support its affiliates seeking to enact state legislation that guarantees to same-sex couples the right to enter into a legally recognized relationship," then added that "each state decide for itself whether 'marriage,' 'civil union,' 'domestic partnership,' or some other term is most appropriate."

Another item said the association opposes gay marriage bans.

And finally, the NEA said it supports the right of religious institutions to refuse to "perform or recognize same-sex marriages."

Article taken from On Top Magazine