Berklee Students Speak Out on DOMA Ruling

By Lisa Occhino

In case you haven’t heard by now, the Defense of Marriage Act was declared unconstitutional last month, giving legally married same-sex couples the ability to receive Social Security, health insurance, retirement savings, and other federal protections.

Basically, the internet did this:

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It seemed like the majority of Americans were ecstatic to hear the news and felt like this was a long time coming. Twitter blew up, spawning some pretty hysterical reactions:

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And then there were a few not-so-ecstatic reactions:

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But as the student voice of Berklee, we were mostly interested in how our community felt about this monumental step in American history. We put out an open call for students to send in their responses regarding the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down DOMA, and here’s what we rounded up:

“It was great news. This was a giant leap forward for our nation and gives me hope that the ‘long road ahead of us’ is maybe not so long as we once thought.”

– Logan Kendell, 3rd semester, Professional Music

“While jovial spirits join in welcoming this huge step forward for human rights, the journey to equality is not yet complete. Lovers are still labeled as partners, marriages are still labeled domestic partnerships, and people are still labeled by their orientations. Though federal legislation may now recognize marriages, many states and large groups of people, not recognizing the devastating toll their intransigent attitudes inflict, still create a sense of segregated isolation. I can say honestly and without pretense from personal experience that this active, silent  oppression can be unmeasurably harmful. So why wait for Congress to change laws — why rely on the Supreme Court to enact positive change? Enact change. Let your voice be heard. Display the universality of love. It has not been the amended acts of Parliament, but rather, the individual minds within societies that have shaped history. I feel privileged and humbled to be living in a decade that has incubated positive change, but I shy away from prematurely finding solace in progressive steps made to end a struggle that is still being felt today.”

– Caleb Hsu (Berklee Groove staff writer), 4th semester, Music Production & Engineering

“Love is love. It’s embarrassing that this wasn’t passed already!”

– Alyse Vellturo, alum, Music Production & Engineering/Music Business

“The ruling does not affect me personally because I am not gay; however, I was extremely happy to read the news that morning and come across the obituary of DOMA. The Act was a shameful display of intolerance and a blatant denial of equality reminiscent of pre-Civil Rights era laws. It is unconstitutional to deny the rights of a group of people while offering those same rights and benefits to everyone else. The ruling was a triumph for the constitution and for America. I am confident that the states will soon follow as one by one they move toward equality. Congratulations to the gay and lesbian people of Berklee and the entire country! I am very, very happy for you all.”
– George Bjorvik, 7th semester, Film Scoring

How do you feel about the DOMA ruling? Do you agree with these Berklee students’ opinions? Sound off in the comments below!