Washington, D.C. – The United States House of Representatives has issued the first-ever spousal ID to the partner of an openly homosexual Congressman, reports state.
Philip Frank, the significant other of Representative Mark Pocan of Madison, Wisconsin was issued the ID recently, granting him recognition as being the spouse of the Congressman, as opposed to a guest. Frank and Pocan were “wed” in a Canadian ceremony in 2006, but the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) only recognizes marriage as being between a man and a woman.
In the past, homosexual partners of federal lawmakers have been issued a designee ID as opposed to a spousal ID, which Frank maintained until approximately two weeks ago. Pocan told reporters that he had urged the House Sergeant at Arms to allow the partners of homosexual representatives to obtain spousal IDs upon his entry into Congress in January.
The office of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is stated to be largely responsible for securing the ID for Frank. Spokesman Drew Hammill confirmed reports.
“Leader Pelosi was very pleased to assist Congressman Pocan in securing an appropriate ID for his husband, Philip,” he told reporters. “Congressman Pocan is to be commended for using this personal example to highlight the plight that LGBT federal employees face with respect to equal benefits.”
“I think it’s an important step toward recognizing equality and we’re very proud of receiving it,” Pocan remarked to The Washington Blade. “We also realize there’s still a lot more work to do for same-sex couples that work for the federal government.”
The are five other openly homosexual members of Congress: Representative Jared Polis of Colorado; Representative David Cicilline of Rhode Island; Representative Mark Takano of California; Representative Sean Patrick Maloney of New York and Representative Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona.
The United States Supreme Court is currently deliberating the Constitutionality of DOMA, and is expected to rule in June. As previously reported, during oral argument in March, Justice Anthony Kennedy expressed concern over whether the court had jurisdiction to decide issues related to marriage. He inferred that perhaps the issue should be left to the states.
“The question is,” Kennedy asserted, “whether or not the federal government … has the authority to regulate marriage.”
“[DOMA] has 1,100 laws, which in our society means that the federal government is intertwined with the citizens’ day-to-day life, you are at real risk of running in conflict with what has always been thought to be the essence of the state police power, which is to regulate marriage, divorce, custody,” he continued.
During the Proposition 8 hearing, Justice Sonia Sotomayor and other justices seemed to cast doubt on affirming homosexual relationships, as equality would require the affirmation of every type of relationship under the sun.
“If you say that marriage is a fundamental right, what state restrictions could ever exist?” she inquired. “Meaning, what state restrictions with respect to the number of people, with respect to the incest laws, the mother and child, assuming that they are the age — I can accept that the state has probably an overbearing interest on protecting a child until they’re of age to marry, but what’s left?”
The court had an apparent divide over the national issue, however.
Historically, homosexual behavior has been prohibited in the nation as many states and colonies passed laws criminalizing homosexual acts even before the founding of America. William Penn, the founder of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, made the “unnatural sin of sodomy” an offense punishable by hard labor according to The Great Law of 1682.