Alex Blaze

Hillary Clinton and Section 3 of DOMA

Filed By Alex Blaze | August 10, 2007 6:51 AM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: DOMA, Hillary Rodham Clinton, HRC, Logo, presidential debates

In last night's HRC/Logo Presidential Forum, Hillary Clinton was the only candidate not to support the full repeal of the DOMA, but instead just Section 3. She said:

And what we were able to do -- and I really give HRC a lot of credit for your leadership on this -- in stopping the federal marriage amendment gave the states the breathing room to make different decisions. So I want to proceed with equalizing federal benefits. I want to repeal Section 3 of DOMA, which stands in the way of the extension of benefits to people in committed, same-sex relationships, and, you know, I will be very strongly in favor of doing that as president.

So why just Section 3? Why not the whole thing?

Section 1 of the DOMA states the name and Section 2 says that other states can't be required to recognize the "relationship between persons of the same sex that is treated as a marriage" from another state. Section 3, though, is the part that defines marriage as between a man and a woman for the federal government and "spouse" as a married person of the opposite sex. So, basically, Clinton wants to make it possible for married people in Massachusetts to file their taxes jointly and to pass on their Social Security benefits to their partners, but not for that couple to move to Georgia and have the same benefits.

In other words, it works right into her states' rights position. As she said:

And, you know, for me, we have made it very clear in our country that we believe in equality. How we get to full equality is the debate we're having, and I am absolutely in favor of civil unions with full equality -- full equality of -- of benefits, rights, and privileges. And I've also been a very strong supporter of letting the states maintain their jurisdiction over marriage, and I believe that was the right decision, for a lot of reasons. Because it's easy, again, to forget that just two and a half years ago we were facing all of these referenda that were enshrining discrimination in state constitutions. And a lot of people tried very hard to fight against them and prevent them from being passed, but unfortunately, they were. Now, two and a half years later, we're beginning to see other states take different approaches.

And then when asked by Joe Solmonese if the whole states' rights thing was just a nice way of saying that she's against same-sex marriage, she said:

Absolutely. And you know, Joe, not only that; I really respect the advocacy that the community is waging on behalf of marriage. I think you're doing exactly what you need to do and should do. And I really am very much impressed by the -- you know, the intensity and the persistence of that advocacy. But this has not been a long-term struggle yet, and I think it's really clear that, you know, people in the states are moving much more rapidly to deal with the inequalities than you would find at the federal level. When you and I were plotting strategy to beat the Federal Marriage Amendment, the reason we were plotting strategy is, we were worried it was going to pass.

This is, of course, the most realistic response to the marriage question. The president isn't going to make the government recognize same-sex marriages - that's just not part of the president's job nor is it part of Congress's. The states decide who gets married, with possible intervention from the Supreme Court. Her being in favor or against same-sex marriage isn't going to change anything.

But why parse the DOMA and not just get rid of the whole thing? She probably knows more about this legislation than any of the other candidates, and she knows that when it comes to the Federal Marriage Amendment, it was Section 2 that was keeping it away (if she's to be believed that DOMA stopped FMA), not Section 3. The FMA debate was being framed by its supporters as "Judges in Massachusetts will force same-sex marriage on people in South Dakota", so it was Section 2, not Section 3, that was addressing those concerns.

Her position is not strategic anymore. Besides the fact that FMA didn't stand a chance with the GOP Congress and has even less of a non-chance with a Democratically controlled Congress, her strategy doesn't realize that no one is examining the DOMA that closely. When people who are against the law hear that she only wants to get rid of part of it, we think that she's only partly on board. When the opposition hears that she wants to get rid of part of it, they think that she's going to destroy ye olde institution of marriage.

If even I had to go to Wikipedia to find out exactly what section she's talking about, most people aren't going to know and they're going to hear their fears regarding her position on DOMA.

So at this point, her position makes no sense for any audience. She might as well just oppose the whole thing, and stop trying to justify why it's even on the books in the first place.


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beergoggles | August 10, 2007 9:45 AM

no one is examining the DOMA that closely.

Well I am, and have, and to give her credit, she had the most realistic approach to it probably because she's so intimately familiar with the law. Which in turn makes her seem far more competent than any of the other candidates and I say that as an Edwards supporter.

Also, Finstuen v. Crutcher clarified that even if Section 2 of DOMA were repealed, since marriage is not a judgement from a court but a legislative act of another state, it can be excepted from the FFCC. I don't expect Hillary to give us a lesson on law, but her knowledge of it gives her an edge over her opponents in cases like this.

The 'states rights' issue on the other hand is inexcusable because it indicates a lack of understanding of minority standing throughout US history. First of all, it's a loaded word that smacks of oppression due to the cowardice of the federal government to do anything. Secondly, it really annoys me that not one of the questioners followed up on that statement and asked her why the decisions in Loving, Roe/Wade, Lawrence are issues that are perfectly reasonable Federal Government issues while equal marriage is not.

What a bunch of CRAP! Thanks for the bone Hillary.

john caputo | August 10, 2007 10:34 AM

I think she is our closest hope, but she is still so far from where we need to be. Too bad Obama isn't just a little bit stronger!

Not a long-term struggle? What is up with this preposterous and errant social constructionist notion that our struggle for equality only started in the 50s?

Reputable historians have successfully demonstrated that the GLBT plight has been just as old, if not more, than the race issue, which always seems to get the lion's share of attention in opposition to women and LGBT issues.

Leland Frances | August 10, 2007 1:16 PM

Lucrece. Lucrece. "Struggle" [Hillary's word] and "plight" [your word] do not mean the same thing, and the "struggle" for racial equality predates the struggle for gay equality by millenia. In any case, any rational person would understand that she was referencing the public's familiarity with the gay rights movement which didn't even register on their radar until the early 70s. If you think every newspaper and TV/radio news show carried stories about the Stonewall Riots in 1969, let alone that there was any mainstream knowledge of, say, the fight against Paragraph 175 led by Magnus Hirschfeld in pre-World War I Germany or the blink and you missed it efforts of Henry Gerber in Chicago post World War I, you're, uh, mistaken. And gay marriage equality specifically wasn't even seriously discussed among gays until about 10 years ago.

As for the sections of DOMA, I missed any endorsements of full repeal by the other candidates last night. But, assuming they did, I don't get the Hillary rub that others perceive. First, federal DOMA does NOT tell states they CANNOT institute same gender marriages. It only says they do not have to, if they do not want to, recognize legal unions from other states. And given that between state constitutional bans and their own versions of DOMA some 46 states have outlawed legal recognition of same gender relationships, repeal of the "state's rights" sections of federal DOMA would only benefit people in four states [three if Massachusetts recognizes unions from other states].

Second, does not your assertion, "basically, Clinton wants to make it possible for married people in Massachusetts to file their taxes jointly and to pass on their Social Security benefits to their partners, but not for that couple to move to Georgia and have the same benefits," mistakenly conflate, in part, two very different issues.

Yes, federal DOMA prevents any state from having to recognize a union from Massachusetts or require it to, for example, let the couple file joint STATE tax returns [in those states which HAVE state income tax]. But, eliminating Section 3 would GRANT ALL such couples, wherever they live, Social Security benefits because those are, of course, FEDERAL benefits—ALL of which Hillary, as the others, want gay couples to have. The only way any state's laws could play into that might be their failure to provide any "married" status which is currently a prerequisite even for straights to qualify for, e.g., joint FEDERAL tax returns or sharing Social Security benefits, but it is highly unlikely that any successful revocation of Section 3 [Nota Bene, which can only be done by Congress not ANY President] would not compensate for that.

Further, it is a very different thing to acknowledge that it was both moral and Constitutional for the federal government to override racist state laws and quite another to suggest that the states should have NO unique rights. From a strategic standpoint, if any of you have no grasp of both legal precedent and the emotion many still attach to it, just make a grand tour of the South and note how many Confederate flags you'll still see. It was the core of the Supreme Court's shame in ignoring their own precedents when the overrode Florida's rights to recount votes however they wanted in order to crown George fils King. [See the book by Alan Derschowitz among others.] The logical extention of such a blanket position would be preventing Massachusetts from having legalized gay marriage. Again, federal DOMA was carefully constructed not to say what the states had to do.

Nevertheless, that does not prevent expecting candidates and Presidents from SAYING what they think the states "should" do and Hillary has done that.

As for Loving v. Virginia, Roe v. Wade, and Lawrence v., once again there is a mistaken conflation between one branch of government and another, both in what they can and should do.
Loving, et al., were actions of the Supreme Court not the Executive Branch, so, in the absence of legislation from Congress, Hillary or Obama or Edwards or even Saint Dennis, could do very little for LGBTS at large beyond advocate.

An object lesson [and example why it is so absurd to universally condemn him], with no chance that Congress was going to pass a job nondiscrimination bill that would have protected every American, Bill Clinton did what he COULD do: he issued an Executive Order [overriding an Executive Order still on the books, save, as I recall, in regard to the Civil Service Administration, from the Eisenhower administration half a century before] forbidding discrimination against gays in all FEDERAL civilian jobs. [Which, as you probably know, Bush thugs immediately ignored.]

As a side note, Obama shockingly belittled Loving v. Virginia which suggests, while he would grant us federal benefits, he'll never be an advocate for respecting gay relationships.

In sum, the arrival of intelligent [and fair] interpretations of the candidates' positions requires an understanding and acknowledgement of laws and statutes as they exist and the differences between not just what is politically viable now but what a President can enact versus what they can advocate.

I take it your abundance of rational thought has done very little to enlighten you on queer history. I suggest you look up Ricktor Norton.

Also, I still seem to miss in your argument the fact that while the branches are separate in what they can and should do, they affect each other very deeply regardless. As a president they may not be able to push for a blatant federal measure, but they can use their powers to advocate and exert pressure, not to mention filling in judgeship positions with individuals not set on destroying our efforts.

One question: Why repeal only section 3? What's the logic behind not repealing the entire legislation?

beergoggles | August 10, 2007 2:06 PM

One question: Why repeal only section 3? What's the logic behind not repealing the entire legislation?

Because section 1 is a title and section 2 is redundant to precedent regarding FFCC other than for the "judicial proceeding" part of it which is really the only part of it in violation of FFCC.

As for Loving v. Virginia, Roe v. Wade, and Lawrence v., once again there is a mistaken conflation between one branch of government and another, both in what they can and should do.
Loving, et al., were actions of the Supreme Court not the Executive Branch, so, in the absence of legislation from Congress, Hillary or Obama or Edwards or even Saint Dennis, could do very little for LGBTS at large beyond advocate.

There is no mistaken correlation. The executive determines SCOTUS replacements. Congress vets those appointments and as such the courts are in play and a reflection of the will of the executive - especially considering that Stevens, Ginsburg and Kennedy could retire during the next term. Thus bringing up the support of POTUS for prior liberal rulings of the SCOTUS is valid.

Thanks for the clarification, beer. However, why not get rid of redundancies? Furthermore, why should the first section not be repealed either? Don't you think that by legalizing the name you are by default affirming the main idea of the legislation, which is that marriage needs to be defended? There is no plausible explanation for the attack on marriage theory, so why not send the message that marriage is not under attack by extending gay couples their long overdue right to equality and pursuit of happiness?

BG~

Two things:

1. You might know about this well, and I'll look it up to make sure exactly what she's talking about, but I think the average political gay person's reaction was summed up in comment #2 on this thread. That's why I think it's bad strat on her part.

2. It's still a roadblock. Sure, it could still be exempted, but, hell, the second section isn't doing anything to help us out and her defending it isn't helping her out.

Leland Frances | August 10, 2007 3:39 PM

“I take it your abundance of rational thought has done very little to enlighten you on queer history. I suggest you look up Ricktor Norton.”

You prove my point, while, at the same time erroneously relating “rational thought” with random knowledge. I have read Norton, thank you very much, and treasure his take-no-prisoners destruction of Constuctionists. But, if I, a gay man who first became involved in gay activism 40 years ago, who has personally known some of the movements most respected leaders, needs to “look up” anyone then your slam of Hillary’s reference to the limited knowledge of the average American voter regarding the “struggle” for gay equality is irrational, and your labeling her statement a “social constructionist notion” is itself “errant and preposterous,” as well as pedantic for your ludicrous implication that she is even familiar with the concept as it relates to gays, however brilliant and learned she is. Further, could you please document those portions of Norton’s writings that assert, as you do, that organized efforts to combat sexual orientation discrimination predate organized efforts against racism? There is a distinct difference between rebellious lives and rebellious movements. I do note, sadly, that he has apparently served to feed your fantasies about the functionality of a ubiquitous and ahistorical use of the Q-word.

“Logic” has nothing to do with repealing all of DOMA, so don’t bother asking me to find it for you.

As for the relationship of POTUS to SCOTUS [and federal courts below it], what you and Beergoggles and I do seem to agree on is the importance of who is elected because of their opportunity to appoint pro or antigay judges. In fact, nothing is more important to me than this fact [and not just in relation to gay equality]. Not gay marriage, not DOMA, not DADT, not ENDA. But I can’t take seriously any remote suggestion, if one exists, that Hillary would withhold any nominee who indicated he/she would support overturning DOMA in toto because of her issue-by-issue positions re “states rights” which, itself, is far from as black and white as Beergoggles asserts. I can’t even imagine it coming up.

Bottom line: all this nitpicking does not change the fact that in most important ways all three leads are essentially the same, and those who equate their support with "dog bones" are, how can I put this delicately—petulant children.

My statement does little to prove your point, considering that you would separate "rebellious lives" from rebellious movements. Rebellious lives are in themselves inspiring and part of a movement.

Your own reasoning that because you have such extensive experience on gay issues and need to look up something on it makes it excusable for some straight individual attending a forum consistent of gay issues not to be informed of our history is blatantly irrational. There are no limits on how much you should prepare yourself on the background of an audience you are going to address, especially if such audience is often subject to constant misrepresentation. That includes approaches to putting our lives to context, including the concept of social constructionism. Nice try at the spin, though. Taking all that into account, and how the resistance of pagan customs (including acceptance of homosexual relationships) to Jewish suppression don't count at all for you, I see that your definition of struggle seems to be rather skewed. By the way, if by political and ahistorical you mean not pertaining to your PC sensibilities, then I offer my most sincere lack of apology.

If logic was irrelevant to legislative proceedings, our system would have fallen tothe rule of demagogues long ago. Just because you cannot come up with an explanation does not mean it's unnecessary.

I cannot fail to miss that you exaggerate people's criticism of Clinton. Whether it be by desperately and constantly bringing up the topic of Bill Clinton's record (with passionate justifications on your part) or making generalizations about people's relation of Hillary's comments to her husband's record, you are blowing it out of proportion. The main reason people seem disappointed by her on the debate was because of the way in which she expressed her understanding of our issues; it gave the impression that she is not that moved to put LGBT issues in places of priority were she elected president. It all comes down to perceived lack of dedication to challenge those with the notion that marriage needs to be defended.

You also seem to exaggerate my position on states rights. I never implied anywhere on my comments that states don't deserve to have unique rules. What I questioned was the constitutionality of having unique rules determining acceptable forms of discrimination, and how the courts and the federal government could address this issue. It is easy to celebrate leaving issues to states' rights, but I'd like to see you telling that to gays in Southern states. It is simply ridiculous that the removal of discrimination on minorities should be decided by the majority that itself practices it.

Bottom line: People who use the description "petulant children" are more often petulant children themselves.

I'm glad that we see eye-to-eye on the importance of keeping the executive branch tilted to the liberal side in this time of imminent retirements. Maybe I'm to sensitive to the concept of tyranny of the majority that this republic is designed to reject, but leaving our issues open to judgement to the largely uneducated, heavily religious masses can be counterproductive to our progress.

beergoggles | August 10, 2007 4:55 PM

However, why not get rid of redundancies?

Because Hillary is right, the redundancy re-assures enough of the pro-FMA folks to not make it a battle worth fighting right now. Two terms of Bush has basically set back the judicial support for equal rights by about 20 years.

Alex:
1. lol, you're probably right. I tend to geek out on stuff like this - since reading con-law blogs and rulings are kind of a hobby of mine.
2. The second section is currently our bulwark against the bigots. Section 2 is not really hurting us and it is actually helping us in holding constitutional amendments at bay and lessening the impact of the religious wrong's lying for jesus fundraisers.

I can’t take seriously any remote suggestion, if one exists, that Hillary would withhold any nominee who indicated he/she would support overturning DOMA in toto because of her issue-by-issue positions re “states rights” which, itself, is far from as black and white as Beergoggles asserts. I can’t even imagine it coming up.

No, what I asserted, or indirectly attempted to at least, is that Hillary could quite possibly nominate a corporatist SCOTUS member (she's still attached at the hip to the DLC and the New Democrats - if you're unfamiliar with any of that, please take a look at Harold Ford Jr.s failed campaign and all the gay baiting he engaged in during it) that is completely indifferent to equal rights and wouldn't think twice about selling us down the river. Edwards and Obama don't have that baggage (althought I trust Obama even less than Hillary for a whole host of other reasons).

Leland Frances | August 10, 2007 5:24 PM

As our exchange now amounts to little more than, "I know you are, but what am I?", I shall concentrate on the specific topic of the thread.

Let’s begin by looking at the statute’s actual language.

Powers reserved to the states:
No State, territory, or possession of the United States, or Indian tribe, shall be required to give effect to any public act, record, or judicial proceeding of any other State, territory, possession, or tribe respecting a relationship between persons of the same sex that is treated as a marriage under the laws of such other State, territory, possession, or tribe, or a right or claim arising from such relationship.

Definition of 'marriage' and 'spouse':
In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the United States, the word ‘marriage’ means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word ‘spouse’ refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.”

Regardless of the general issue of “states rights,” as everyone can see, Section 2 only tells states what THEY don't have to recognize as it applies to THEIR laws. E.g., another state would not have to let a gay couple married in Massachusetts file joint STATE income taxes.

But Section 3, which all Dems would repeal, is solely about FEDERAL laws and benefits. It gives the states NO say in how the federal government can act. It refers to “legal unions” but it does NOT say WHO defines those. FEDERAL income tax laws are created and interpreted, of course, by the FEDERAL Internal Revenue Service. Old maid that I am, I could be wrong, but I don't believe even a straight married couple need attach a copy of their marriage license to their joint FEDERAL income tax returns.

Similarly, the legal same gender partner from, say, Spain, of any American citizen, attempting to enter the country based on that relationship through, e.g., San Francisco, would not be barred by California’s ban on gay marriage but the FEDERAL government’s denial of recognition of same gender couples as expressed in DOMA Section 3, and implemented in this instance by an “agenc[y] of the United States”—Immigration. Repeal of Section 3 would prevent that and neither California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger nor California’s leading antigay Troglodyte Lou Sheldon could do a damn thing about it.

As I said, if Congress, with or without any President's advocacy, gets to the point where it is willing to repeal Section 3 [which limits the definition of “couple” and “spouse” to heterosexuals] then any attendant FEDERAL regulation changes to accommodate it is just so much dotting of I's and crossing of T's as have been necessitated by other major changes in our country involving the federal government. Alaska and Hawaii were made states several years after the last previous additions, but I trust that their admissions were accompanied by changes to the Internal Revenue Code, among other federal statutes—Rather than something like, "
Supervisor Kumquat, I have this Eskimo person on the line and he wants to know how to qualify for a tax refund. Whatever shall I tell him?!"

And, again, not only would repealing Section 2 be unnecessary to provide FEDERAL benefits to same gender couples but would, save for three states, now be only symbolic for all others, save Massachusetts, have enacted laws of their own in one form or another than ban gay marriage and/or civil unions REGARDLESS OF ANY REPEAL ALONE OF DOMA.

So the road to state recognition of same gender relationships does NOT pass through FEDERAL DOMA. To get there, we are going to have to take a different philosophical and legal route.

In sum, we are only hurting ourselves to add yet another excuse, particularly when they are irrelevant, for some, already in a hissy fit over the M-word [which I support in the long run], to not vote or vote for a candidate who has no chance of winning and therefore no chance of changing the drapes in the White House let alone our lives or worse for a Repug.

Yes, I see where you're right, beer. Repealing the entire thing might just be better served on a later term where liberal control of the branches is stronger (the new generation is turning out to be promising for that prospect). Or, at least we can hope that she maintains this position, yet after being elected she will achieve a "change of mind" that seems to be an epidemic among presidential candidates.

I'm still rooting for her due to the fact that she seems to be the safest bet in terms of getting elected for president out of all candidates. Considering she will be facing a formidable Giuliani, who is more than able to court centralist votes, I'd rather take a more cautious road. Securing the Supreme and federal court positions to be liberal-tilted is the main goal of this electoral cycle, I think. As much as I would like her to have been more candid, coming close to supporting equal marriage opportunity for gays could be a potentially destructive approach to her running strategy.

Hmmm, I'm inclined to agree with you on simply assuring that the most electable democratic candidate is chosen, Leland. I can see the strategic advantage, as I still was more of a Hillary rooter before the debate, but I still have to admit that her lack of symbolic sharing of a cause irks me. While not necessary in legal terms, the first section, and the legislation itself, it bothers me what the message of the legislation is. To maintain the legislation still sends the message that marriage itself is being attacked, and I have trouble with the government sponsoring such a message. It all comes down really to my nitpicking of the symbolical value of the legislation and Hillary's reluctance to publicly take a stance that might alienate a certain voting block. I hope that she makes up for this later by appointing judges that will be conductive to equality. Maybe I'm too easily irritated by details and symbolic gestures, and so I should remind myself that this is politics, where a thicker skin and subtlety is needed.

beergoggles | August 10, 2007 6:19 PM

I really would have been enthused if the candidates were asked whether they would appoint judges who would uphold equality and civil liberties. The fundies have their doublespeak of 'strict constructionists' and we need our own version of a catchphrase that's conducive to our cause.

Well, at least Clinton stated that she would not appoint judges counterproductive to our cause. She didn't say about appointing judges conducive to our cause, but at least it's good to know that someone has Southwick on his/her mind when speaking about appointments.

Also, as with the exchange with Leland and beer earlier, what a coincidence to find this little jewel today:

http://www.pamshouseblend.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=2590

Leland Frances | August 11, 2007 12:56 AM

Thanks for that, Lucrece.

What I have not seen, and, hopefully, it is just that I haven't looked in enough places, is the recognition that we cannot continue to depend alone on what "gay-friendly" officials will do. I hasten to add that I don't think that's because we can't trust them, but because they can't do it alone.

The largest lesson, of many, about this was Bill Clinton and gays in the military. Michelangelo Signorile has written of how astonished he was at the time that there was no effort by gay organizations to attempt to prepare the country and Congress for such an idea. He says that two spokesmen for HRC [actually still called HRCF then] "continually dismissed—to the [mainstream] media as well as the gay community—any suggestion that there would be impediments in the way of lifting the ban." [Not exactly Richard Perle's infamous, "We will be welcomed [in Iraq] with flowers" but close enough.] At the same time NGLTF was undergoing a leadership change, and both groups ended up distracted by a turf battle with David Mixner's newly created Campaign for Military Service.

Instead of united front, they divided themselves and were conquered when, first, in strode the immensely popular "hero" Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Colin Powell who led the Pentagon in its opposition, telling Clinton he would quit if the President issued an Executive Order [ironically similar to the one Truman issued forcibly integrating the military]. Then the wealthy and ruthless Right flooded members of Congress with homohating mail and calls, and Senator Sam Nunn, pissed that he was passed over for Secretary of Defense launched attacks from inside the chamber and, surrounded by reporters and TV cameras, from the claustrophobic close quarters within the belly of a submarine, all but saying out loud, "So ya'll can see how easy it would be for a ho-mo-sex-u-al to reach across in the dark and put his hands on the private parts of one of our finest fighting seamen—uh er sailors." The result was simply old wine in the new bottles of DADT.

Mixner who was, of course, Clinton's chief unofficial gay advisor at the time, but now totally alienated and apparently still bitter, seems to still believe the failure rests not with gay groups, not with the military and Congress, but with Clinton and his staff who failed to adequately counterattack and dare Congress to override him. I watched from afar, but Signorile's analysis seems both more objective and accurate about a nexus of failures and ways in which our leaders let themselves be outflanked.

And I fear that, 14 years later, the group most connected in DC, HRC, is still leaving too much to the concept of a white knight [regardless of the skin color or gender] who can succeed alone in advancing our equality when memories of the DADT defeat and results so far that amount not to passing any gay -friendly bill but only blocking passage of antigay bills should convince them that they need to do far more. Yes, the increase in sponsors of various bills is encouraging but such bills in one form or another have been languishing for years. If a single one is to pass, if new ones are to be submitted with any chance of passing such as repeal of all or part of DOMA, we can't count on others alone. Mainstream education campaigns, such as explaining that DADT thwarts the "war on terrorism," need to be created and flood America. Appeals alone to "fairness" and "justice" have not worked for the last four decades. There's no reason to believe they'll work alone in the future.

I wondered the same thing. Do I vote for someone who wants to do away with it or only part of it? Then my partner made a point I hadn't yet thought about. Many states use DOMA as their "safeguard" from allowing politicians to write hate speech into their state constitutions. Here in Indiana I've seen them do it several times and they're told that DOMA exists so just leave it alone. She pointed out that if anyone did away with DOMA a firestorm of anti-gay sentiment would erupt turning every state into a wild race to create anti-gay bans. She says that by keeping the protections for the states to do what they want yet allowing federal rights also then those states that don't have it written on the books won't make an issue of it because they still don't have to recognize same sex marriages. It still really burns me that someone could still support it but by the same token I think that the fact that she kept reiterating over and over that it's a "process" was her way of saying I'm on your side but I don't want to let the crazies out of the bag. Gravel was right, she is playing it safe. Don't get me wrong, I won't vote for her the first time around but if I have to, well, much better to have someone 1/2 way on our side than someone who used to be, found religion and now makes a game out of stabbing you in the back with it. I think that's the issue with politics. You never get someone that is 100% what you want because the person must reflect 100% of everyone. I've got things at stake just like everyone else...leave it to my better half to reason things out for me.