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There's no point in The Defense of Marriage Act other than to be punitively discriminatory, and this is a good (and strange) reminder of just how discriminatory—and ridiculous—the law actually is:
A gay couple married under state law cannot give a joint contribution to a federal candidate if they make it from an individual banking account, the Federal Election Commission voted unanimously Thursday.

In a somewhat emotional session, FEC commissioners lamented the fact they had no choice but to deny gay couples the same rights as straight ones, given the Defense of Marriage Act‘s legal requirements. Dan Winslow, a Republican candidate in next week’s primary for the open Massachusetts Senate seat, had requested the advisory opinion.

“Mr. Engle, sometimes the law’s an ass,” declared FEC chair Ellen L. Weintraub, referring to the line from Charles Dickens’ “Oliver Twist” in addressing Winslow’s attorney Craig Engle.

The case in question arose when a gay couple sent an individual personal check as a political donation, instructing (as is allowed of other married couples) that credit for it be split between them. An unremarkable thing, and something that has zilch to do with sexual status, one would think, except that the far-reaching DOMA decided to make it so.
“The Defense of Marriage Act is remarkably clear,” said Donald F. McGahn II, the commission’s vice chair. “We just can’t disregard DOMA, regardless of what we think of it.”
Everyone seems to agree that the law is, in this case, an ass, so the commissioners invited Engle to "come on back" once the Supreme Court rules on DOMA. We can only hope the court overturns the stupid thing, since there seems to be absolutely no legitimate reason to protect the "sanctity" of marriage by conspicuously and explicitly denying gay couples things which, like this, are rote for other couples. There's no possible government interest being served here.

Originally posted to Hunter on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 10:21 AM PDT.

Also republished by LGBT Kos Community, Angry Gays, and Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I suppose we should all incorporate (7+ / 0-)

    our households immediately.  All those discrimination problems, solved!    

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 10:24:36 AM PDT

  •  What if you're not gay and you (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    commonmass

    want to give joint credit to a friend for the donation?

    •  I presume this has to do with marital status (8+ / 0-)

      So, regardless of your sexual orientation, I likewise presume you could not make a donation in the manner a (heterosexual) married couple currently can.

      One thing which is not clear from the context, either above or as I've read elsewhere, if this situation pertains specifically to married couples who make a joint donation from an individual bank account or whether it applies to donations from joint accounts as well. On the one hand it would seem to follow; if the law prohibits acknowledging a same-sex marriage for one set of purposes it is almost certain to prohibit acknowledging a same-sex marriage for other similar purposes as well. Either way of course DOMA is simultaneously vile, hateful, discriminatory and stupid. And, as Hunter points out, it serves no legitimate government purpose unless intentional discrimination based on sexual orientation can somehow be viewed as a legitimate government purpose (a view which I'm quite certain Antonin Scalia would be absolutely okay with).

      •  A joint bank account is considered to be (0+ / 0-)

        property of both individuals regardless of marital status.  So I assume a donation from a joint bank account would be allowed to be split even if the individuals are not married.

        One should no more deplore homosexuality than left-handedness. ~Towards a Quaker View of Sex, 1964 (Proud left-handed queer here!) SSP: wmlawman

        by AUBoy2007 on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 01:45:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Poor straight troll (0+ / 0-)

      Yeah, compare wanting to split a tax donation with a friend to being denied marriage benefits do to Congressional Animus.   That's sweet.

      Minority rights should never be subject to majority vote.

      by lostboyjim on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 10:57:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Uh...what? I think inclusiveheart (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        commonmass, inclusiveheart

        was just asking a question...

        •  I was asking a question. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Catte Nappe, misslegalbeagle, elfling

          It was both a practical question and a question that I think basically illustrates how stupid DOMA and this ruling are.

          Let's just say that my best friend and I are supporting the same candidate and my friend doesn't have the money to donate but I do...  Would we be allowed to donate together from the same bank account?  AND if for some reason we started sleeping together how would that in any rational world change the terms of the donation?

          •  That's exactly what I thought you meant. :) nt (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            inclusiveheart
          •  This is about more than having (0+ / 0-)

            a like-minded friend or even sleeping together.
            This was a couple married under state law. So unless you and your friend happened to be married, there is no parallel.

            •  Well, actually I disagree. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              elfling

              What the FEC has said in effect is that people can't donate to their candidates based on their sexual orientation and because they are married to someone of the same sex.  It is certainly an infringement of freedom of speech as defined by Citizens United - and freedom of association - and discriminatory - especially if there is no prohibition against me and a friend of the same sex getting together to make a joint donation.

              Furthermore, it seems to undercut the whole objective of Campaign Finance reporting laws which were created to regulate and to track contributions to candidates.   If only one member of a married couple can take credit for a donation and the other is a participant in earning those funds, then the whole point of campaign finance laws has been upended.  

              The ruling and DOMA as I said before are nonsense both from a practical standpoint and by any measure of our democratic political freedom as outlined in the Constitution.

              My father would go farther here and say that all campaign finance laws are a total waste of time and to a degree I agree with him with the exception that reporting donations and having that transparency is really important.

              •  No, not exactly. (0+ / 0-)

                Unless I'm missing something, it says that one form of payment (splitting payments from an individual checking account) is available only to legally married heterosexual couples.  Legally married homosexual couples are free to donate to the candidates of their choice, but must use individual checks or (I presume) checks drawn on a joint checking account.

                This problem could easily be solved with no change in the law simply by refusing to split any checks that are not drawn on a joint account.  That's why, whatever may be wrong about the FEC rule, freedom of speech is not the problem.

                LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                by dinotrac on Sat Apr 27, 2013 at 08:40:12 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  You've completely read my (0+ / 0-)

        question the wrong way.  Entirely missed the point.

        Also I almost never hide comments, but I'm really tempted to do so as you have insulted straight people which is kind of bullshit if you really believe that people should not be judged or in anyway discounted based on whom they choose to sleep with, love or marry.

        Not helpful to the cause to belittle anyone for their sexual preferences - really hypocritical, actually - unless you believe that the only way to get freedom and equality for the LGBT community is by ending heterosexual relationships - and then you give credence to the morons who claim that LGBT rights threaten heterosexual marriage and relationships.  See how that works?

        •  Duh (0+ / 0-)

          What you want is heterosexual control and privilege.  Equality means everyone is treated the same.  There are two ways to do it: allow equality of same sex relationships I.e. marriage, or removing the special privilege to heterosexual marriage.  Your choice.

          You want your privilege but no one else's. that is the problem.

          •  Really? (0+ / 0-)

            That's what you think?

            You have no clue who I am.  It might behoove you to read a bit about me - nothing stopping you from clicking on my name and reading my very long comment history here.

            I may not be communicating my disdain for this ruling and DOMA adequately enough for you to get why I asked my initial question, but that doesn't give you the right to accuse me of some evil heterosexual plan - which is pure fantasy on your part by the way - nor does this issue give you the right to go after heterosexuals for being heterosexual - this is the problem with stupid people - they all think that they have a right to belittle someone - personally I don't give a shit whom you choose to marry or have sex with - I care whether or not you are a nice person and with respect to the laws of this country, I care about everyone being treated equally and fairly under the law.  The fact that people make distinctions on the equality front for any reason is a completely foreign mindset to me.

          •  Boy, are you misreading the commenter (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            skrekk

            If anybody needs to be called up short with a "duh" it's not him/her.

            “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

            by Catte Nappe on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 12:38:12 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Snark tag? (0+ / 0-)

            Fight them to the end, until the children of the poor eat better than the dogs of the rich.

            by raincrow on Sat Apr 27, 2013 at 07:11:26 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Frankly... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          lostboyjim

          ...I fail to see any point whatsoever to your question or any relationship between you question and this diary.

          The issue is about campaign finance law as it applies to legally married couples who make joint campaign contributions.  And the fact is that the law treats legally married same-sex couples differently from their heterosexual counterparts, which is rank discrimination.

          To ask a question about friends making joint donations seems to me a trivialization of this discrimination.  While it may not have been your intent, my reaction to your question was the same as Lostboy's apparent reaction, which was the feeling that you were somehow equating that married same-sex couple with two platonic friends wanting to make a joint donation.

          Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

          by TexasTom on Sat Apr 27, 2013 at 10:23:46 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Little too loose with the "troll" allegation (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        misslegalbeagle, jayden, skrekk, Overseas

        inclusiveheart is a long time community member with a decent track record, so your insult is unjustified, unkind, and unfair.

        “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

        by Catte Nappe on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 11:25:55 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Hoo boy. Dim. (0+ / 0-)

        Fight them to the end, until the children of the poor eat better than the dogs of the rich.

        by raincrow on Sat Apr 27, 2013 at 07:11:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  General Truth requires no citation (5+ / 0-)
    sometimes the law’s an ass
    ...  the author could have simply moved on from there.  

    We need no literary citation on quotational attribution to support this simple fact.

    Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

    by Wisper on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 10:45:27 AM PDT

  •  Ridiculous (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jayden, skrekk

    I wonder what the IRS is going to do with the one check I sent for our joint liability? Maybe because the other half of the couple is dead it won't matter?

    -7.75, -8.10; . . . Columbine, Tuscon, Aurora, Sandy Hook, Boston (h/t Charles Pierce)

    by Dave in Northridge on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 11:16:28 AM PDT

    •  I wonder when DOMA is history whether you and (0+ / 0-)

      everyone else impacted by DOMA will be able to refile for prior years or just for the period since the ruling?   It would seem that a law found unconstitutional would have always been so.

      •  I've been wondering the same thing. (0+ / 0-)

        certainly the statute of limitations filings can be amended (eg, prior three years), but before then?  as a matter of procedural efficiency, you'd think a court will bend over backwards to find that the SOL will hold and older returns can't be amended, but hard to say how that'll wind up.

        the question will be litigated, no doubt about it.

    •  its a gift from you to your partner. (0+ / 0-)

      or, rather, to his estate, and therefore a gift to the beneficiaries of the estate. if that's you, then there's no gift tax issue cuz you can't make a gift to yourself.

  •  Gaaaaaahhh. n/t (0+ / 0-)

    Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

    by elfling on Fri Apr 26, 2013 at 01:50:45 PM PDT

  •  So how did (0+ / 0-)

    this check get noticed?  Who filed the complaint that set this off?

    I am not religious, and did NOT say I enjoyed sects.

    by trumpeter on Sat Apr 27, 2013 at 06:42:03 PM PDT

  •  Awfully short-sighted of you Dan. . . (0+ / 0-)

    I am not a political consultant but here is some free advice:

    Dan, do you really think this will help you in your campaign??

    I know you have a GOP primary next Tuesday. If you happen to win the primary. How this can possibly help you in the special election in Massachusetts???

    Perhaps if you were running in another, shall we say less enlightened state it might help. You are running for Senate in Massachusetts, a state were the leading Democratic candidate can be openly Pro-Choice, Pro-Gun Control, and Pro-Obamacare among issues.

    Even Scott Brown, most likely (though I  might give him too much credit) had too much sense not to ask this.

  •  Let's cut to the chase. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    raincrow

    Defense Of Every Blessed Thing We've Ever Believed In and Refuse To Be Open Minded About Act.

    The Great Awakening Is Afire! Think outside the box.

    by franklyn on Sat Apr 27, 2013 at 06:46:23 PM PDT

  •  Hey I thought (0+ / 0-)

    Citizen United ruling says that Money is Free Speech and well seem this vile Law stops people from Free Speech.

  •  sigh (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Matt Z

    Fight them to the end, until the children of the poor eat better than the dogs of the rich.

    by raincrow on Sat Apr 27, 2013 at 07:08:50 PM PDT

  •  There is a solution. (0+ / 0-)

    Why on earth are joint contributions even allowed...  for anybody?  Maybe you save on the expense of one extra paper check?  

    Also, I suppose it facilitates those families in which only one spouse's opinions matter.  But I'm not sure that's a good thing. Eliminate joint contributions and the discrimination problem goes away.

    Early to rise and early to bed Makes a man healthy, wealthy, and dead. --Not Benjamin Franklin

    by Boundegar on Sun Apr 28, 2013 at 03:19:44 AM PDT

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