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Why Today is Different From All Other Days

The Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act

Wayne Hoffman
June 26, 2013
The author on his wedding day.(Photo by the author)
The author on his wedding day.(Photo by the author)

On the evening of my family’s first Seder in 2011, when it came time for the Four Questions, I had a new answer: Why is tonight different from all other nights? Because tonight, I’m a married man.

Mark and I had eloped that afternoon, driving downtown from my parents’ house in suburban Maryland to get married in Washington, D.C., the city where we met 22 years earlier. New York, where we lived, hadn’t passed a marriage equality bill yet, and we assumed it wouldn’t for many years. (Happily, we were wrong.) And so, after more than two decades, we made it official, and legal. Sort of.

The federal government continued to deny us some 1,100 rights about everything from Social Security to immigration to taxation, thanks to the odious Defense of Marriage Act, passed by Congress and signed by President Clinton in 1996.

This morning, the Supreme Court struck down DOMA–or at least the section of DOMA that allowed the federal government to continue to deny marriage equality to people living in states that had already passed such legislation.

Why is today different from all other days? Today I am legally married. Truly. At last.

Wayne Hoffman is executive editor of Tablet Magazine.