Thank you, Bill Clinton and Congress

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Via Stone Court, I visited Happening-Here? for a review of how the Defense of Marriage Act affects the relationship between the government and American citizens who are victims of Hurricane Katrina.

It’s a relationship that saves the government a lot of money. Under the Defense of Marriage Act, all benefits are denied–FEMA, Social Security, and state benefits. Parental rights and burial decisions are also removed from surving partners. The situation is made worse by the fact that Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama have laws that deny legal status to same-gender partners.

During the aftermath of this horrific tragedy, we will hear a lot about compassionate conservatism. But we will also hear about the “real” compassion of the Democratic Party, and about how Americans take care of their own. Americans take care of their own, all right–if they are white, heterosexual, and not poor. It also helps to be able-bodied, male, and adult. The political and idealogical garbage washed up by the storm surges of Katrina is nothing new. But no matter how high it piles up, Americans will keep stepping over it, eyes closed, noses held, and hearts frozen.


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It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

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Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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