Repeal of DOMA
Thursday, February 24, 2011
Open Letter to Honorable Members Of Congress
By Brian Anthony Bowen
Reposted with permission from The Gemini Enterprise
Dear Elected Official,
As the Defense of Marriage Act appears to be headed for the trash bin of history, and as gay marriage becomes more widely accepted in mainstream America, I encourage you to vote to repeal the statute, rather than to allow the courts to do the job of the Congress. I also hope to draw your attention to various benefits to society that gay marriage equality represents, which seem to have gone unmentioned in past debates:
- Gay marriage is the greatest weapon for reducing HIV/AIDS and other STD infection rates among homosexual males, which would reduce overall health costs for all Americans that are currently often subsidized by Medicaid, Medicare, SSI and SSD. A reduction in HIV rates will also translate into freeing up valuable medical facilities and personnel to pursue more noble causes, such as treatments and cures for cancer, diabetes, etc.
- Gay Marriage benefits the American economy by concentrating wealth between 2 income earners, just as heterosexual marriage does.
- Gay marriage reduces needs for abortion by providing additional adoption options for American women
- Gay marriage provides solid and stable emotional and financial foundations for raising adoptive and/or biological children of gay, lesbian, bisexual and/or transgender Americans
- Gay marriage increases options for temporary care needs for foster children by providing additional stable foster families
- Gay marriage will boost America’s economy in both the short and long term with increased spending in marriage (and honeymoon) related expenses such as housewares, limousine rentals, formal wear rentals, air fare, hotel accommodations, private car rentals, reception halls, florists, fine jewelry, catering, photography, videography, tourism, and cruise lines. Additional (soft) spending will be increased for expenses related to travel, car rentals, and hotel accommodations for friends and family of the couple traveling to the location of the wedding ceremonies.
- Gay marriage will enhance and encourage American home ownership and increase property tax revenues for state and local governments, as two income households can better afford to purchase homes, and if married, gay couples are more likely to risk such a mutual investment knowing that it will be protected by inheritance and other laws governing mutual ownership of real property.
- Gay marriage upholds traditional American family values by embodying them and fighting to partake in them as equals to our heterosexual Americans. It is simply a threadbare myth to think we are out to destroy them.
Costofwedding.com estimates a couple will spend an average of $25,000.00 on their wedding, not including the honeymoon. With an estimated 30 million gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in the U.S., the repeal of DOMA represents a potential 15 million weddings, which represents a total of $375 BILLION new dollars being infused into our nation’s economy over the short term immediately following the repeal of DOMA. Please click here to learn which industries are most impacted.
According to Forbes.com, the average cost of a honeymoon is about $5,000.00. At 15 million honeymoons, this represents a potential of an additional $75 BILLION new dollarsinfused into our nation’s economy in the short term immediately following the repeal of DOMA.
According to Forbes.com, there are an average of about 45,000 weddings every week. Repealing DOMA to allow for an estimated 10% of America’s citizens to marry would mean an additional 4,500 weddings every week, at a total cost of about $30,000 each, or a projected annual infusion of $135 MILLION new dollars per week, ($7 BILLION new dollars per year) into our nation’s economy on a PERMANENT basis in the long term following repeal of DOMA.
In summation, that means the repeal of DOMA has the potential to infuse an additional$450 BILLION new dollars into our nation’s economy in the short term, and $7 BILLIONnew dollars on an annual (and permanent) basis thereafter.
While the courts struggle to find a legitimate and compelling governmental interest forprohibiting gay marriage, it seems instead there is an overwhelming legitimate and compelling governmental interest for permitting gay marriages in terms of benefits to our economy alone, and with no financial investment on the part of tax payers. In other words, DOMA is inadvertently killing jobs and stunting economic growth, and a simple vote to repeal DOMA is all it takes in this instance to infuse BILLIONS of new dollars into our nation’s economy.
As the debate over marriage equality for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans has waged on, millions in our community have patiently awaited a final verdict that would permit us to move on with our lives, and take steps to more equally participate in the American dream. It is unfortunate that even days after President Obama and the Department of Justice deemed DOMA as increasingly indefensible in the courts, many in the Republican Party have already avowed to make marriage equality an issue in the 2012 election.
We all understand the reasoning behind it too. It is far easier for Republicans to portray themselves to gullible church members all across our country as defenders of the American family, marriage, and traditional American values, by using fear mongering, untruths, and unfounded attacks upon the LGBT community, and our goals to secure the American dream for ourselves, and for future generations of LGBT Americans. We also all know the truth of the matter is that this social issue has been used for far too long as a political tool to encourage people to actually turn out to vote. It is indeed sad that the Republican Party thinks so little of their own ideas for moving the country forward as to feel it necessary to resort to such a tactic.
It is also becoming increasingly clear that preying on the fears of under informed and gullible church members is an easy way to fill the coffers of numerous so called “pro family groups” which are little more than political action committees intent on increasing their own influence in the political realm, rather than to do anything to actually protect the family, such as campaigning to outlaw divorce, for instance. I think it is clear to all Americans (except many inside the Washington beltway) that this threadbare and shameful tactic has had its day, has lived beyond its political usefulness, and has managed to extract millions–perhaps billions–of dollars from hard working, unsuspecting Americans, and funnelled it into political campaigns designed to elect Republicans. As one American, I think I speak for all of us when I say, “enough is enough.”
It is unAmerican to continue to put the lives, marriages, and families of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans in limbo just to further advance a faux social agenda based on myths, fears, and outright lies regarding the LGBT community. As Americans, we deserve better. We pay our taxes, we vote, and we have earned our place at the table of freedom that is America. Whether you are a Republican, Independent, or Democrat, I hope you will do all you can to ensure that Republican and Tea Party efforts to raise political funds by fear mongering the issue of marriage equality is cut off at the knees, and do so prior to the 2012 election. Republicans have advanced their agenda of fear on the backs of LGBT Americans–as well as the purse strings of gullible church members–for long enough. America is better than that, and Americans deserve better than that. If the Republican Party truly wants to “protect the family,” it will use its resources to address the true enemies of the family; adultery and divorce.
More than 1,000,000 children per year witness their parents’ first divorce in America, and half of those will go on to witness their parent’s second divorce. I can’t think of anything that destroys the American family more, or that causes the greatest damage and creates the biggest threat to the security and well being of American families than divorce. While I completely understand and empathize with American couples who find that divorce is the only option for moving on to a better life, I also think this clearly illustrates that at no time does marriage equality for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans play into the cause or effect of these divorces. It is simply another threadbare myth designed to blame the gay community for the familial issues involving heterosexual Americans, all the while leaving these problems unaddressed, and unabated.
ALTERNATE MARRIAGE MODELS (i.e., Polygamy):
Many opponents of the repeal of DOMA and marriage equality for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans have often repeated a fear that if single gender marriage is sanctioned by the government, polygamy would become the next logical step in the progression of marriage equality. However, considering that in 1862 the Morrill Anti-Bigamy Act was signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln barring any marriage of more than 2 people, those fears should be quickly put to rest.
Incidentally, this was one act of marriage regulation that was indeed *not* left up to the states to decide, but was initiated by the US Congress at the Federal level. It applies to all states and territories of the United States, and has gone unchallenged for nearly 150 years. This should render feigned concerns of marriage equality for gays leading to polygamy a moot point. It is nothing more than an antiquated argument based on an ancient fear that growth of the Mormon religion would overtake the population of other sects of Christianity, through means of accelerated procreation through polygamous marriages.
I understand that you may have strong Christian religious beliefs that most likely aligns with many of the voters in your district. As a Christian myself, I share these convictions as well, but as a gay man, I have spent the past 30 years reviewing the Scriptures upon which certain of those convictions are founded, especially as they relate to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals. In doing so, I have come to realize two major omissions from traditional Christian teaching which, once reflected upon, may ease your conscience in regards to a vote to repeal DOMA.
The first is that gay people are born so. Jesus makes this clear in Matthew 19:11-12 and various other passages of Scripture support this. See Chapter 1.
The second is that the Apostle Paul approved same gender marriage in 1 Corinthians 7:8-9. Further, the Holy Spirit goes on to warn through Paul in his letter to Timothy that in the latter times, many people would fall away from the Christian faith (even while continuing to consider themselves Christians), and would “forbid people to marry” in 1 Timothy 4:1-3. See Chapter 3.
The links provided herein point to the first draft of a book I’m working on entitled, The Bed Keeper: A Biblical Case For Gay Marriage. I hope you’ll explore them, and share them with your constituents in order to further the conversation regarding the equality of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans, and help them come to realize the justice of our cause for repealing DOMA.
I believe that as you do, you’ll come to the same realization as I did; that just as misinformed religious convictions were employed to support the ownership of slaves, (even though the Apostle Paul clearly stated in 1 Corinthians 7 that a slave should free himself if given the opportunity), so too has Paul’s instructions for all churches concerning same gender marriages been overlooked or intentionally ignored, in order to advance a politically guided social agenda that is as bad for America as slavery was, in the form of DOMA.
While I strongly believe that religious convictions or beliefs should play no role in influencing the laws of our country, the testimony given by the majority of members of Congress who originally supported DOMA in the first place would reveal that Christian traditional teachings have indeed already played a major role in forming the conscience of those making the laws. While there is nothing wrong with that in and of itself, I believe we all agree that our Founding Fathers were wise in doing all they could to prevent cases of a misinformed conscience from directing the laws of our great nation.
I also understand how difficult it may be for you as an elected official to vote in contradiction to the expressed will of a large swath of your constituents, but I encourage you to simply forward this information to them so they can see for themselves that perhaps their beliefs have been poorly formed based on a biased clergy who failed to accurately teach them in regards to the portions of Scripture I share with you here.
It is my fervent desire to preserve the integrity of the church (both Catholic and Protestant) by having the church itself bring correction to her traditional teachings regarding gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans. I do not believe the government should be telling the church what to believe. I also do not believe the government should force any religious assembly to perform weddings for anyone they choose not to, regardless of their reasons. We don’t force Christian churches to marry members of the Jewish, Hindu, or Islamic faiths, for instance. Additionally, with the increasing numbers of Christian churches being willing to marry single gender couples, as well as the increasing numbers of Christian churches pastored by openly gay clergy, there is now no shortage of alternatives for finding a church to marry any single gender couple who desires to be married in a church.
However, I also believe that it is going to take a concerted effort on the part of our Congress and Senate to convince members’ constituents of the virtue and validity of this information. In other words, if they simply hear it from me, or read it in a book they pick up off the shelf, the lessons contained herein will not have nearly the impact on their decision to continue supporting your re-election (should you decide to support DOMA’s repeal even against certain of your constinuents’ expressed wishes), than to have them hear it from yourself.
As daunting as that task may seem, I am hoping that this communication will assist you in that effort by providing members of Congress with a format in which you can simply forward this information to your constituents to consider for themselves, and I encourage you to forward this to anyone you may feel needs to better understand it, in order for them to better understand your vote FOR repeal of DOMA. All things considered, I believe you will agree that the reasons for repealing DOMA will be far easier to explain to reasonable American voters, than to explain why you did not.
I encourage you to explore the links below that point to various certain other chapters of the book so that you may be well prepared to offer a response to the “what about” questions that always arise when this subject is discussed among members of the Christian faith.
Thank you for your service to your country as an elected official, and for your time and consideration of this information. Please do not hesitate to contact me firstname.lastname@example.org to answer any questions within my realm of expertise concerning these matters.
May God be with you and bless you as you ponder your decision to support the repeal of DOMA, and may God bless the United States of America.
Brian Anthony Bowen
Author, The Bed Keeper: A Biblical Case for Gay Marriage
- What About Romans?
- What About Leviticus?
- What About 1 Corinthians?
- What About Sodom and Gomorrah?
- What About Dr. Robert Gagnon?
- What About Responding to Conservative Christians?
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