October 3, 2011
By Adam Bink
Stories matter, and these are Sen. Casey’s constituents. What is he going to do about them?
In politics, we often forget that change is about real people with real stories. Today in Pennyslvania, there are real Courage Campaign members who are being discriminated against. And the question is, will Sen. Bob Casey do anything to help them?
You see, there are 30 U.S. Senators who support repealing the Defense of Marriage Act, which prevents married same-sex couples from having critical protections that straight couples have. You’d think Sen. Casey would be one of them, right? Wrong. So we asked Courage members all across Pennsylvania for their stories of why it’s so important to repeal DOMA, and we want to share them with you…and with Sen. Casey.
Please read below for stories of how Pennsylvanians are suffering, then click here to sign our letter with to Sen. Casey with Equality Pennsylvania and Freedom to Marry, asking him to do the right thing and support DOMA repeal for constituents like them.
Heather Poehler in Downington:
I married my wife on September 10, 2005 in Massachusetts. In 2008 we moved to Pennsylvania which does not recognize marriage performed in other states because of DOMA. We have no rights here as a married couple. Every year when we file our federal taxes, we do not get the benefits of filing as married (in our state of residence or with the federal government). We cannot get the health insurance we want because it has a federal saving account attached to it and my wife cannot use the funds (our own money) in the account for her health care.
Robert Vaites in Glenolden:
My partner and I have been together for over four years. He was accepted at a college but he tried twice to get a student visa to come and live here with me and attend school, but was denied each time. He was also denied a tourist visa. That means I have to leave my home and travel to Argentina to be with my partner. Because of DOMA I, an American citizen, cannot sponsor him to come and live with me in my home, in the country I love. If he was a woman I would have no problem getting him a green card and it would only take about three months. Get rid of this discriminatory, unconstitutional law and treat LGBT people with the same equality and respect as any other citizen.
Caroline DeWalt in Pittsburgh:
My wife and I married in Connecticut, but we live in Pennsylvania. My place of employment provides domestic partnership benefits, but only with a lot of documentation that goes back at least 18 months, documentation that many of my straight married colleagues would be hard-pressed to provide. If I were straight, I could meet someone today, marry him tomorrow, and he’d be on my benefits the next day. My wife will have to wait until October to get the coverage we deserve because Pennsylvania does not consider her my wife. My employer was gracious enough to make an exception to some of the requirements, so that my wife can be enrolled by October, but once she has the benefits, I have to pay taxes on them because the federal government also doesn’t acknowledge our relationship because of DOMA.
President Obama supports DOMA repeal, and we elected Casey over Santorum because we needed a voice for LGBT people. Now it’s time for him to stand up and be that voice. Click here to tell Sen. Casey: Help constituents like these folks and support DOMA repeal!
Thanks for all you’re doing,
–Adam, Arisha, Cait, Rick, Ana and the rest of the team at the Courage Campaign