North Smithfield Couple Addresses DOMA at National Press Club
A North Smithfield couple traveled to Washington, D.C., last week to speak out about how the federal Defense of Marriage Act has impacted their lives.
Beth Vorro and Beth Coderre addressed the National Press Club at the request of the Courage Campaign on July 19.
Vorro, a federal employee, spoke about having to spend $150,000 on health insurance for Coderre. She told EDGE that members of the media seemed empathetic to the plight of married same-sex couples who cannot enjoy the same benefits as heterosexual married couples.
"I felt a sense of comprehension," said Vorro. "There was a sense that they got it very quickly and immediately."
Coderre remembered the anger she felt when a doctor asked about the impact on health insurance premiums if married same-sex couples received federal benefits.
"The reality is I am in a legal same-sex marriage," she said. "I am legally married as recognized by the state of Massachusetts and my heterosexual peers automatically have these rights and privileges conferred to them upon marriage. We are legally married. We have the responsibilities. We pay our taxes, we perform our civic duties, we vote, we serve on juries when asked to, we are fully engaged in our neighborhoods but we are barred access to the rights and privileges that everyone else has."
As a result, married same-sex couples have to take actions not required of married heterosexual couples.
"If something were to happen to (Beth,) I need a special form I have to fill out that enables me to deal with the funeral director, make funeral arrangements, plan her funeral, that recognizes I am the person to do that," said Coderre.
Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said that she does not expect that Congress will act this year on a bill that would repeal DOMA. She views the Senate Judiciary Committee’s first hearing on the Clinton-era law on July 20, however, as an important first step.