How Lovely are the feet of those who bring good news of equality.

A post by Neil Hart on homosexuality, LGBT, lesbian and gay stuff and the Lutheran Church of Australia.

Yesterday,  a remarkable drama unfolded in Australia as our head of state was replaced in a bloodless coup.

As Important as that is,  something far more significant and enduring was happening half a world away and half a day behind. The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) was handing down its much anticipated ruling on the Defence of Marriage Act (DOMA) . DOMA is a piece of legislation enacted in 1996 which prevented the Federal Government  from recognising same sex marriages approved by any US State.

At 10am precisely the ruling of SCOTUS was released and posted online.

The ruling stated that DOMA is demeaning to same sex couples and humiliating for their tens of thousands of children. It is in violation of the fifth amendment. Doma had been overturned.

At 10.07 a young intern named Gabe downloaded the ruling, grabbed the 27 page document  hot from his office printer and ran the most important 644 meters of his life. He bounded up the steps and into to the Federal Immigration Court in NY City  where Steven was about to be deported. Steven has been legally married to Sean since 2011 but, because of DOMA,  their marriage was invisible to the court. Steven could not obtain a Spousal Visa routinely made available to international spouses of US Citizens in opposite sex marriages. But when SCOTUS overturned the offending section of DOMA the court could recognise Steven and Sean*s  marriage and, thanks to Gabe*s 644 meter dash, the deportation proceedings were halted.

Thanks to the Rachel Maddow Show for this wonderful story

Sean and Steven BrooksSean and Steven Brooks

The overturning of DOMA, the federal recognition of same sex marriages, radically changes the lives of those US citizens who are legally married. Spouses can receive all of the benefits entitled to married couples. Income tax returns are now different. Military families can now live on base and receive entitlements. Spouses can now be considered as next of kin and cannot be refused access to their dying partners when they are in hospital. (Yes, sadly, that really does happen.)

 Lots of feet ran and carried the good news of DOMA*s demise. At 10am yesterday morning when the Supreme Court released their findings, interns ran with the freshly printed documents from the steps of the court to the area allocated to the press. There, seasoned journalists flicked through the pages, found the relevant section and announced the good news to all the world. And the thousands of gay couples and their supporters who had gathered at the court and in towns and cities  all over the country began their celebrations.
SCOTUS running of the Interns

SCOTUS running of the Interns

And a blogger half a world away and half a day ahead, sitting in his bed and reading the live feed twitter updates, shed a tear.

Isaiah 57.7

How beautiful on the mountains
    are the feet of those who bring good news,
who proclaim peace,
    who bring good tidings,
    who proclaim salvation,