Since May 9, 2012, recent statements by President Obama that “same sex couples should be able to get married” have brought America closer to a federal crossroads decision to be debated in the Supreme Court on March 26-27, 2013.
The Federal government, which currently has no obligation to recognize same-sex marriages on the federal level, is planning to try two potentially landmark cases Hollingworth v. Perry and US v. Winsor.
The cases, which could potentially lead to rebuttal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that was signed into law in 1996 during the Clinton presidency, defines the word ‘marriage’ in section two as “[meaning] only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word ‘spouse’ [referring] only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.”
With section two of DOMA reserving the right of each state to recognize or not recognize a same-sex marriage from another state depending on individual state constitutions, theatrical performances of same-sex marriage policy change, such as “8” based on California’s Proposition 8, have gained political significance.
“Whether or not the Supreme Court goes one way of the other, people are becoming more and more accepting of [gay marriage],” said Tom Hawkins, social work student and president of Spectrum, UVU’s Gay/Straight Alliance.
Hawkins, along with Spectrum and Student Director David Beach of the drama department, are working to put on a performance of “8.”
The scripts, which Beach said were “practically handed to us on a silver platter [by Broadway Impact and American Foundation for Equal Rights],” must be present in front of the actors at all times to avoid any variance from the original script.
“It’s such a taboo subject on campus. It’s currently going on in the Supreme Court, and you can either fight it or rock out,” Hawkins said.
Spectrum, which will perform “8” on March 29-30, has found it easier to highlight the issue on campus through the club rather than through the Drama Department.
“Because the Drama Department is technically academic and there’s people who wouldn’t approve of this performance, we can go through the club easier because it’s a social and activity based [part of campus],” Hawkins said.
Hawkins, who ran for UVUSA vice president of clubs in 2012, has since worked with President Holland and five other clubs to include sexual orientation into the discrimination policy which went into effect last December.
“You can’t be offended all the time. If you’re in an academic setting, you’re going to be talking about issues,” Hawkins said.
Banned plays on campus such as “Angels in America” are on Spectrum’s agenda for future performances if all goes well.
“If the performance is well attended we’re hoping to do something awareness related every year,” Beach said.
California’s current legislation is that under the Family Code, domestic partners, including same-sex couples are awarded “ the same rights, protections, and benefits, and… the same responsibilities, obligations, and duties under law… as are granted to and imposed upon spouses.”