Nebraska Couple Embarks on Marriage Tour
By Katherine Dean
In an effort to highlight the injustices inherent in our federal government’s discriminatory 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), Dan and Josh Smithman are taking their marriage-equality message on the road. The couple, who is legally married in both Canada and California, is embarking on a cross-country tour and plan to get married in every state that recognizes same-sex marriage. By month’s end, the Smithmans will tie the knot in Washington D.C., Iowa, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont and New Hampshire. The Smithmans, who are inspired by civil rights advocate Rosa Parks, want to draw attention to the inequalities created by DOMA, which defines marriage as between one man and one woman on the federal level. DOMA further provides that states are not obligated to recognize gay marriages that took place legally in another state or jurisdiction. Though the Smithmans are legally married, they have no federal-level marriage rights, such as Social Security survivor benefits or family medical leave, nor is their marriage recognized in their home state of Nevada.
When explaining the purpose of the marriage tour to the New Haven Register, Dan Smithman says, “You can either oppose something, oppose what you don’t have, or stand for something and take advantage of what you do have. We’re kind of taking advantage of the options as they come on board. Our thought is to do it one state at a time until DOMA is repealed.”
According to its Facebook page, the Smithman Marriage tour is “an expression of love, freedom, equality and hope, often in the face of prejudice and adversity.”
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