Radley Balko of the Agitator asks some good questions about the prioritization of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
Gay marriage is probably the only gay rights issue that gets more attention than DADT right now. And prioritizing gay marriage makes sense. But there’s comparably little coverage, debate, or discussion, for example, about laws against gay adoption, which it seems to me affect a much larger percentage of the gay community, deal with a much more basic right, and are quite a bit more damaging, both to gay parents who want kids and to the kids who legislators have decided are better off in a group home or rotating through foster homes than in stable homes with same sex parents. (Some of these laws bar adoption by unmarried parents gay or straight, but in states that forbid gay marriage, the effect is to bar gay people from adopting).
Or how about the fact that federal law basically bars private employers from offering the same health insurance benefits to domestic partners that they do to married hetero couples? Some companies do offer such benefits, but the employed partner is taxed at such an obscenely high rate for the partner’s benefit that the benefit becomes far more expensive than it’s worth. (I’m speaking from experience—I signed on for my ex-girlfriend’s former employer’s domestic partner health insurance benefit a few years ago, and we were surprised with a monster tax bill the next year. Even the company’s HR people weren’t aware of the penalty.). I should add here that I’d ideally like to see health insurance severed from employment. But if the tax benefit is there, it strikes me as patently unfair to give huge tax breaks to committed heterosexual couples, but effectively negate any efforts of private employers to offer committed homosexual couples the same benefit (domestic partners benefits are taxed as income on both the employer and employee side).
I agree. I would think the heavy taxation penalty on live in partner insurance and the all but ban on adoption would be more meaningful fights. But then, I too am a white guy from a middle class upbringing, so what do I know? (Although I did face some discrimination because I had long hair in the early 90’s, no one ever said I couldn’t get married, adopt, or join the military.)