The myth of DOMA’s effect on Sally Ride

I see posts going around saying that DOMA keeps Sally Ride’s partner from getting death benefits, and this is showing up even at places like the New York Times, which should know better. As much as I hate DOMA, in the interest of accuracy I must point out that this is not the case – as best as I can find, death benefits do not accrue to unmarried partners in either same-sex or mixed-sex couples. No report I’ve seen indicated that Ride was married to Dr. O’Shaughnessy, even though they did have the opportunity; they were together for decades by the time that California, the state they were living in, started granting same-sex marriages. Even after California stopped, someone who had been to space could surely have arranged to travel to a state which would have granted them a marriage… a marriage which would have achieved some recognition (although not under the term “marriage”) in California. The elimination of DOMA would not require states to start granting same-sex marriages (although it may serve to encourage it in practical terms), and it certainly wouldn’t turn unmarried couples into married ones. There are surely enough reasons to argue that DOMA is bad law and bad policy; we needn’t hang false ones on.

Published in: on July 26, 2012 at 3:55 am  Leave a Comment  

The URI to TrackBack this entry is:

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: