There's a great interview for those interested in DOMA repeal up right now on the Bay Area Reporter with Rep. Jerry Nadler. Talk of federal civil unions hasn't really picked up all that much steam among either LGBT's or Congress, but Californians who can only domestically partner now would have a stake in a system like that:
Congressman Jerry Nadler (D-New York), in an exclusive interview with the B.A.R. while attending the annual Human Rights Campaign gala in San Francisco Saturday, July 25, ruled out including anything other than legally recognized marriages in the legislation he plans to introduce either this week or once Congress returns from its August recess.
"No, it will not include domestic partnerships or civil unions. It is going to be just marriage," said Nadler, who chairs the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, and therefore, will be the lead sponsor of legislation aimed at repealing the federal Defense of Marriage Act.
It's disappointing, since those are federal protections unmarried people could have and deserve just as much as married couples. Also, I'm not really all that optimistic about either the federal suit to overturn Prop 8 or the chances or overturning it at the ballot box in 2010. As much as many of the people involved in the fight want to make it about the word marriage itself, federal recognition of Californian DP's would materially benefit same-sex couples more than switching over to the word marriage in that state would.
HRC's on board, but something tells me Jason Bellini won't be writing anything about how Joe Solmonese is trading away DP's and CU's for marriage:
HRC President Joe Solmonese said it makes sense to restrict the debate over repealing DOMA only to recognition of same-sex marriage.
"We ought to start it with what we would ultimately achieve, a wholesale overturning of DOMA," he said.
Nadler said that including domestic partnerships or civil unions in his legislation "gets very complicated" because the laws governing such legally recognized relationships are "different in every state." Also, he said it would cloud the legislation's end goal, which is ensuring all Americans, regardless of their sexual orientation, have the right to marry.
"Historically domestic partnerships and other relationships have been an interregnum until we get to marriage, which we need to push for as soon as possible," said Nadler, adding that he could not predict what chances the legislation has of passage. "We have to see what reaction we get. It won't pass this year."
It's all pretty messy, and I know that turning around the discourse on relationship recognition from one that focuses on taking families headed by same-sex couples into the marriage fold to one focused on helping families themselves, no matter the marital status of the people involved, isn't going to happen overnight. It's a big ship and our national organizations don't have much motivation to turn it around and most people have already come to see anything outside of same-sex marriage as impossible, even if it's the solution that states were enacting before states outside of Massachusetts started recognizing same-sex marriage.
This next bit is great. Too bad it means Nadler's bill will never pass:
During his prepared remarks, Nadler said he would include the "certainty provision" in his bill in order to give same-sex couples and their families peace of mind that should they move to a state that does not allow same-sex couples to wed their marriage would still be valid.
That effectively means same-sex marriage would be legal everywhere in the US, and it'll never pass. Even though Nadler's office clarified that the certainty provision would just mean that same-sex marriages would be reconized anywhere in the country for federal purposes, it'll be labeled "Gay marriage legalized in the US."
A Congress that isn't able to get a suspension of DADT discharges through won't be able to legalize same-sex marriage.