Alex Blaze

Jerry Nadler: DOMA repeal is going to have to wait

Filed By Alex Blaze | December 11, 2009 1:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: bisexual, Congress, DOMA, ENDA, gay marriage, Jerry Nadler, lesbian, LGBT, marriage, marriage equality, same-sex marriage, transgender, workplace protections

Jerry Nadler's talking some sense. DOMA repeal is the equivalent legalizing same-sex marriage in the minds of a good deal of Americans and a majority of Congress, and it's toxic right now.

"The Respect for Marriage Act is a bill that we can't pass right now; we know we can't pass it right now," he said.

Nadler said Congress won't take up the DOMA repeal next year because other LGBT-related bills, including the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, legislation providing partner benefits for LGBT federal workers and a repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," are taking precedence. Supporters hope to pass those measures by the end of 2010.

"The Respect for Marriage Act comes up after that, maybe at the end of the next Congress, maybe afterward," he said.

And if that other LGBT legislation doesn't get passed? DOMA will be punted even further down the line.

This is entirely related to discussions we've had over the past few months here on TBP about what issues get priority and which don't - the fact that there is even so much more pressure for a law that just won't get passed right now while there's little attention being paid in the LGBT media, much less straight media, on an LGBT bill that could be passed this Congress.

Maybe the lawsuits currently in the works against DOMA will make the need for this bill moot in a few years. I wouldn't hang my hopes on that, though, considering the current Supreme Court, but there's a chance. In the meantime, we need to continue the work we're doing, keeping an eye on the more basic needs of the community being met before harder battles, like DOMA, get pushed out in front and, like the bright, shiny objects they are, take all our eyes off the prize.


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Nadler was a lot more honest than Polis and Baldwin. When we know the "truth" we can begin to be more effective.

I'd have to rewatch the polis interview, but I don't think Baldwin said anything that contradicts what Nadler says here. She specifically said not all LGBT leg is created equal, and DOMA is definitely the hardest of them all.

Baldwin suggested that ENDA has more support than DADT or DOMA repeals in the Congress. That isn't true. All are seen as LGBT legislation and they all have 55 Senators firmly against them.

While Nadler said "we know we can't pass [DOMA] right now," he simply admitted that ENDA and DADT had taken precedence and that they were hopeful. He didn't suggest they were easier than DOMA repeal or had different levels of support. Probably because there is no evidence of that.

Pushing for same-sex-marriage anything may prove a great distraction to cover while we go about getting (a gender-identity included) ENDA passed and signed.

And please understand, gender-free marriage is very important to the trans community. Who a trans-man or trans-woman is told they "have the right" to marry varies state by state and sometimes county by county. Our 'legal' marriages could be null and void of we move but 30 miles.

But, although polling suggest we shouldn't be having this conversation at all, "same-sex marriage" is still a bridge too far. I suspect that a quarter to a third of people who tell pollsters they support same-sex marriage do so to not appear to be an asshole. But when it comes time to vote, they can't overcome their feelings of revulsion/disgust.

The LGBT community has a lot of work to do before we actually start winning the occasional popular vote for the right to marry -- we need to do a lot more Harvey Milk-style "recruiting." We need to be the activist force that our enemies claim we are. (I, a transwoman, will be canvassing door-to-door tomorrow in an area that voted strongly Yes-on-8 for marriage equality, because I believe we need in-the-flesh, face to face meetings to begin to desensitise the revulsion that helps fuel our opposers.)

But until we reach -- through whatever means -- that tipping point where non-standard sexual orientation/gender identity cease to be an issue, we might as well consider the possibility that 'pushing' the issue of same-sex marriage may have some use as a distraction that makes it easier to accomplish other needed actions -- like a 'T'-inclusive ENDA, maybe?

Hazumu,

We can win all the "popular votes" and pass LGBT legislation when we begin to do what you are doing:

"I, a transwoman, will be canvassing door-to-door tomorrow in an area that voted strongly Yes-on-8 for marriage equality, because I believe we need in-the-flesh, face to face meetings to begin to desensitise the revulsion that helps fuel our opposers."

Ask you neighbors, friends, co-workers and even strangers to support "equality." You'll be surprised with the results. When enough of us do this, we will create our own equality. THAT is the ONLY solution. There is no political solution - we must be the solution.

Thank you for doing the real work of LGBT activism - sharing and encouraging understanding.

Uhhh... ok, so ENDA has more support than DADT and DADT has more support than DOMA.
(this sounds like a Junior High School math problem)

ENDA;
Has no support and has stalled out because no one wants to appear to be ‘over reaching’ during this (or any) election cycle. I mean, a senator has to eat right? And figure the odds that they are going to do anything positive for the Trans community that’ll piss off the teabagging voter block. This is being pushed to the end of the calendar by everyone.

No one wants to stand up for it, mark it up, discuss it. I think this is a dead issue.

DADT;
Cycle 1: Has ignorant support among Congress which says that they can’t repeal it unless the Joint Chiefs of Staff says it needs to be repealed. The JoC says they can’t do anything unless the President of the United States says that they have to do it. The PotUS says only Congress can repeal DADT.
Cycle 2: Congress says they can’t repeal DADT unless the PotUS says so, the PotUS says he can’t unless the JoC says they need it repealed, The JoC says they can’t end it unless Congress says to.

Can we video tape this? Please? I love seeing mass governmental ‘self love’ moments. If you threw a buck in to that mass you’d see it twice every 30 seconds.

DOMA;
Ok, so we have to wait until ENDA and DADT is done. From where I’m sitting, they’re done, they are all done.

The far right is willing to stand and shout the most vile things against these three things and no one is willing to stand and shout for these 3 items. Do you see any ‘staunch defender of the constitution’ standing up and speaking vociferously on the behalf of the citizens that ENDA, DADT or DOMA would affect? I see newspaper blurbs in GLBT papers and websites.

And this, this whole thing, the lack of leadership and drive comes from the top. I expect to see in another 3 years more campaign promises of how ENDA, DADT and DOMA is on Obama’s list of things to do…but only if I vote for him.