Today is a momentous day– not just for gay couples in Maryland– but for all of us that care at all about justice and equal rights.  Three states enacted a new law by popular vote this past election that now allow for gay marriages, and I am so proud to be among one of those who voted in favor of this law as a resident of the State of Maryland.  I believe this now brings the total count to 13 states– which is a big step forward considering none permitted gay marriages prior to 2004.

Unfortunately, there is still a lot of progress to be made, as the majority of our 50 states still do not permit gay marriages and DOMA (the Defense of Marriage Act) still prevents these couples from obtaining many federal privileges that so many of us take for granted.   Thanks to DOMA, which was enacted in 1996, federal law only recognizes a marriage between a man and a woman.  This means that  gay couples cannot file a joint tax return, sponsor a spouse for citizenship or obtain Social Security benefits through a partner.  Why should law abiding citizens that want to be in a committed relationship be denied any of the rights the rest of us enjoy simply because of their sexual orientation?  How is that any different from denying someone rights based on their sex, race or religion???

I realize there are still many out there that do not share my opinion, and all I can say is that we are all entitled to our own opinions.  Fortunately for me, I get to make mine quite public, and so it is with great pleasure that I get to host a special show on this topic at the end of the month with one of the leading proponents of this movement in the DC Area.  To everyone that helped make today possible, I just want to say thanks, and to all you who now feel a little less like a second-class citizen, my sincere congrats!

By Regina A. DeMeo, Esq.