The constitutionality of gay marriage will be the topic of Dalton State’s annual Constitution Day program Tuesday, September 17, at 6 p.m. in Goodroe Auditorium of Gignilliat Memorial Hall. The public is invited to the free program which will be led by Mr. Matthew L. Hipps, Assistant Professor of Political Science at Dalton State.
The United States Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act as unconstitutional in a split decision last June. DOMA denied federal benefits to gay couples who were legally married in their states; as a result of the ruling by the high court, the federal government now recognizes same sex marriages in the 12 states and District of Columbia where gay marriage is legal.
The Internal Revenue Service went a step further earlier this month when it announced that it would recognize same sex marriage in all 50 states for tax purposes. Similarly, the military recognizes same sex marriage and extends spousal benefits to all married service members.
Federal benefits include Social Security survivor benefits, immigration rights, and family leave.
In writing the majority opinion for the high court, Justice Anthony Kennedy said that DOMA violated the Fifth Amendment protection of equal liberty.
“We are going to talk about the Constitutional issues regarding gay marriage and what happens when politics and morality meet,” said Hipps, who teaches Introduction to American Government and directs the College’s First Year Experience program.
“We want to examine and discuss the potential benefits and costs of a gay marriage amendment and talk about how the issue of gay marriage is really a larger issue of human rights and equality,” he said.
Due to the sensitive nature of the subject matter, the program is recommended for mature audiences.
Constitution Day recognizes the signing of the Constitution by the framers on September 17, 1787. Each year, Dalton State presents a Constitution Day program which highlights one or more basic liberties afforded to us as Americans in the document that provides the framework for our government.
Mr. Hipps has led Dalton State’s Constitution Day programs the last two years, addressing issues related to the First Amendment right to free speech. His topics have included Political Discourse and Civility and Tolerance.
The Constitution Day program is sponsored by the Office of Student Life.