Jay Michaelson at the Daily Beast, ca. 2015:
Transgender people, some of the most vulnerable members of the LGBT community, are paying with discrimination for the victories of some of the more privileged.
For years, some mainstream gay activists said to the transgender community, “Just wait—first we’ll get our rights, and then you’ll get yours.”As offensive and patronizing as that was, what has come to pass is far worse. The anti-LGBT backlash is here, and transgender populations are suffering the most….
And The Only Real Victims Thus Far Are…
By Katrina C. Rose
DOMA is soooooo dumb.
How dumb is it?!?!
I’ll tell ya how dumb it is…
The DOMA philosophy is dumb (and, given the impending release of a certain prequel, dumberer as well.)
If you’ve forgotten, DOMA stands for “Defense of Marriage Act,” even though even either of the main characters from the aforementioned prequel could empirically prove that every gay couple in America instantaneously tying the knot would neither harm any existing heterosexual marriage nor prevent any heterosexual couple from getting married.
The 1996 federal DOMA was, of course, a direct response to Hawaii. And, two years later, Hawaii itself responded, killing that state’s marriage litigation.
And then came Vermont and civil unions.
At the 2000 National Lesbian-Gay Law Association Conference, one panel featured several queer attorneys running through a law school exam-style fact pattern involving a seemingly endless series of permutations of the possible effects (and non-effects) of a couple’s civil union—outside of Vermont, of course.
Texas soon entered the picture, and one of the panelists noted that Texas didn’t have a state DOMA.
Maryland transsexual attorney Alyson Meiselman, lead counsel in this year’s successful gender transition decision In re Heilig (in her home state) and co-counsel in the 2000 attempt to undo the stupidity legislated by two judges of the San Antonio Court of Appeals in Littleton v. Prange, was sitting next to me at the time and I heard her say under hear breath, “Yes, it does!”
My thought at the time was that it didn’t. However, in 2000 it did and it didn’t, as there was a general definition of marriage as being between a man and a woman—and even more general language stating that marriages performed elsewhere would be recognized here if they could have been legally performed here.
The Texas anti-same-sex marital provisions in existence in 2000 had come into being back in 1973—in direct response not to a ‘threat’ of Texas having to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states, but rather in response to the Texas arm of the early 1970’s push (utilizing the lack of the usage of ‘one man and one woman’ by many states’ laws) for gay marriage which spurred the first wave of state anti-same-sex marriage statutes. In 1972, two men (one in drag) had managed to secure a marriage license down in Wharton, and the buzz about it led fairly quickly not just to an article in the South Texas Law Review about same-sex marriage under then-existing Texas law but also, more significantly, to the inclusion of anti-same-sex language in a Family Code modification bill during the 1973 session of the Legislature.
Think about the specific types of marital unions that anti-same-sex marriage statutes, DOMAs themselves and DOMA-esque provisions were intended to target (rather, to “defend” heterosexual marriages against): man and man, woman and woman. Nothing about man and post-operative transsexual woman. Nothing about woman and post-operative transsexual man. Nothing about anyone and an intersexed person. Last year I found a tape of a committee hearing on that bill from the 1973 Legislature (at which the authors of that law review article testified) and, strangely, I heard no mention of transsexuals or the intersexed.
That legislative history of that 1973 statute (a legislative history strangely absent from Littleton v. Prange) clearly shows that it was aimed at gay and lesbian same-sex marriage—not transsexual opposite-sex marriage.
A few weeks ago, NYC’s Gay City News featured an article about a debate at Fordham University between current gay marriage agenda pusher (late of Lambda Legal) Evan Wolfson and one of the 1996 federal DOMA’s chief conspirators, Bob Barr.
It was noted that a question was put forward about the effect of DOMA on transsexuals.
The article included the following: “Recalling that a similar question was raised by a Congressional colleague from North Carolina in the Judiciary Committee as DOMA was debated, Barr said that he responded, ‘The people of Georgia know what a man is and what a woman is. I don’t know if you’re having problems up in North Carolina.’”
You might think that this conclusively disproves my view that DOMAs weren’t intended to target transsexual opposite sex marriage as well as homosexual same-sex marriage.
Well, recently we’ve all seen what can happen when a member of Congress tries to manipulate a state legislature (you were paying attention to that, weren’t you?). Barr’s response is, to some degree, in the same category—except that he was trying to con the legislative body to which he actually had been elected, and by ignorance (or misrepresentation) of not one, but two, states’ laws.
You see, both North Carolina and Georgia have, and did have in 1996, transsexual-specific birth certificate modification statutes (in fact, North Carolina’s was enacted in 1975, only three years after that state first sent Jesse Helms to the U.S. Senate.) In other words, both Barr’s state and his colleague’s state explicitly recognize the medical and legal reality of change of sex for transsexuals. (As most of us are aware, sadly, Texas’ birth certificate statute isn’t as transsexual-specific as many other states’ statutes and wasn’t viewed by a certain court in 1999 as being transsexual-inclusive. However, given that there is no specific anti-transsexual language in the statute, that was merely judicial legislation by two judges from one of Texas’ fourteen Courts of Appeal. Moreover, I’ve recently found what might be a ray of legislative history hope in the evolution of Texas’ birth certificate statute; more on that in the weeks to come.)
Whether anyone at the Fordham debate bothered to point this out about Barr-land and Helms-land (or whether anyone yelled out: “Bob Barr is soooo dumb…”) is unclear, but the fact that the particular article about this particular subject concluded with the above-quoted paragraph—leaving casual readers to assume that nothing was said at the debate and that no one connected with the production of the article knew enough or cared enough about transgender law to point out the fallacy underlying Barr’s quip (and wouldn’t it be to all GLBTs’ advantage to further show that a DOMA-proponent doesn’t know what he’s talking about?)—says more than any transsexual’s stomach can handle.
“It could be argued that on balance the marriage debate has so far not gone well for gay rights advocates. In the wake of DOMA, more than two thirds of all states have followed suit with specific enactments codifying marriage as a union of a man and a woman. But in the course of the marriage debate that periodically stirs here or there, and in the myriad and more successful steps toward domestic partnership arrangements, the notion of committed gay and lesbian couples and of gay and lesbian families has been broached again and again and again. It is no longer a foreign concept—nobody today is hearing the idea for the first time.”
The mere fact that the “nobody today is hearing the idea for the first time” spin can be accurately spun and, at the same time, that no homosexual has ever lost any existing substantive marital right because of the backlash against gay marriage means that the marriage debate has actually gone peachy keen for gays.
Who the gay marriage debate “has so far not gone well for” is transsexuals, as we are the only group who have had legal marriages—opposite-sex marriages—nullified because of laws aimed specifically at same-sex marriages.
But it’s a fact that seems almost always to be either forgotten or ignored.
And so it apparently went with the Texas DOMA this year, with the sordid tale of a sordid concept concluding after 2001’s redistricting-into-oblivion of Debra Danburg and, this year, despite Runaway Scrape II’s prevention of the redistricting-into-oblivion of other people who believe in the Supremacy Clause: Gov. Hair signed SB7 into law on the day after a national holiday honoring men and women who gave their lives to preserve America’s freedom (Can you say ‘irony’? I knew you could.).
Yes, Senator Van de Putte did what she could, offering pro-transsexual-identity amendments to SB7, but, considering how things almost went with congressional redistricting, its not difficult to envision how the pro-transsexual amendments were received by this year’s legislature.
But, when the time came for quotable quotes about SB7 being signed, here was what I found in the Houston Chronicle from Randall Ellis of LGRL: “It’s about politics. It’s about scapegoating gays and lesbians.”
That was pretty much it, at least in the Chronic not surprisingly, so, in Ellis’ defense, I don’t know what else he had to say. Yet, not insignificantly, one can’t argue with those words in and of themselves. DOMA is about politics and it is about scapegoating gays and lesbians, just as the federal anti-same-sex marriage constitutional amendment proposal gearing up be to 2004 election-year politics what DOMA was to 1996’s is, and will assuredly be if Lawrence v. Texas is decided favorably this month on strong equal protection grounds.
LRGL press releases back in April said that the Senate’s passage of the bill was “nothing more than a slap in the face of the LGBT community of this state” and the earlier passage of it out of committee did “nothing more than create a hostile environment toward lesbian and gay Texans.”
Ah…there we are: T (at least in one of them.) But again, one can’t argue with calling the votes a slap in the face (they most certainly are) or helping to create a hostile environment (DOMA most certainly will—no matter how Lawrence v. Texas turns out).
But nothing more than a slap in the face? Nothing more than create a hostile environment?
To Texas transsexuals?
Answer me this: Will the brand new Texas DOMA, with pro-transsexual amendments having been rejected along the way, be interpreted as a statewide codification of Littleton v. Prange, the 1999 anti-transsexual travesty which, as it stands now, is only binding in the counties covered by the San Antonio Court of Appeals?
I don’t know. I wish I did, but I truly don’t. It shouldn’t. But, neither the 1973 Texas statute nor the 1996 federal DOMA should have been used against Christie Lee Littleton’s Kentucky marriage back in 1999.
What is the answer? Every transsexual in Texas needs to know. Every person in Texas who is a spouse in a marital relationship that does not consist of one female with both a vagina and XX chromosomes and one male with both a penis and XY chromosomes needs to know.
Ultimately, of course, they will find out. They just don’t know when, but it is sure to be when they can least afford to—like Christie Lee Littleton did in 1999.
The current crop of legislators who are brewing up the current batch of anti-trans legislation got their essential rhetorical ingredients directly from radphlegm trans-exterminationists and Barney Frank just as directly as Walter White, Jesse Pinkman and Mike Ehrmantrout got their last big batch of methylamine directly from that railroad car…
and trans rights are just the kid that psycho Todd kills.
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