500 words about the Defense of Marriage Act.

Maybe sooner rather than later my partner and I will receive the same benefits from the government that heterosexual couples do. Today, with yet another unconstitutional ruling for the Defense of Marriage act, I am reminded every day that the state of things in this country is changing every day.

My husband fought in Iraq to help save the lives of the soldiers he worked with for barely more than minimum wage, only to return home to a country that doesn’t recognize him as equal, a church that ostracized him for who he is, and a bank account emptied by somebody whom he thought he could trust. I inherited that broken man, and every day I try my hardest to keep him happy, in a society that doesn’t care.

It’s hard not to get emotional at times like these. Not everyone is yet aware, but our1 move is not going as planned, and I am being forced to stay behind for the next year — during which time it is uncertain whether or not Levi will be getting the pay necessary to keep a roof over my head. We know for sure he won’t be receiving compensation for me as a dependent, because the federal government and US Army doesn’t recognize our union.

News like this reminds me, that even though things aren’t perfect, we aren’t alone in our struggle and that somebody is fighting with us.

My friends, when I first met Levi, told me that I didn’t need to inherit his problems if I didn’t want to — but I knew, from the moment he sent me that friendly “Hello!” over a message on MySpace, that I wanted to be the one to help him carry his baggage wherever he needed for the rest of his life. (Or, at least, for the rest of mine.) I would hope that over the years I’ve taken more out of his bags than I’ve helped pack back in.

It’s clear that the Defense of Marriage Act is in violation of the US constitution no matter how you look at it. The worst thing about DoMA is not what it is taking away from people like me, it’s what it is taking away from people like Levi. Soldiers who have and currently are risking their lives for the people of this country, constantly putting their own family in the back seat to defend everyone else’s.

I know there are some people who will read this who won’t necessarily agree with what I have to say. People who believe that my husband and I are immoral, and don’t deserve everything that they deserve. People who are married to soldiers who are receiving the very benefits that Levi and I are denied every single day.

To them I say that their soldier isn’t any better or worse than mine. They both went to the same war, dodged the same bullets, and lost friends to the same bombs. Why shouldn’t they receive the same benefits?

Stephen Battey

Stephen is a 25 year old amateur photographer, blogger, and husband from Tacoma, Washington. He shares a cute ass house with his husband, cat, and two dogs. He generally hates all weather patterns.

Tacoma, WA