Bil Browning

Senate Committee Passes DOMA Repeal Bill

Filed By Bil Browning | November 10, 2011 6:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: Defense of Marriage Act, DOMA, Evan Wolfson, Joe Solmonese, Kirsten Gillibrand, Respect for Marriage Act

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved the Respect for Marriage Act today. The bill would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act which bans same-sex marriages from federal recognition and allows states to ignore marriages gaymarriageperformed in states where same-sex marriage is legal.

"Today's vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee puts us one step closer to ending federal marriage discrimination," said HRC President Joe Solmonese. "We thank the members of the Judiciary Committee who stood up for LGBT families and particularly thank Chairman Leahy and Senator Feinstein for their leadership in fighting this unjust law."

The committee held a meeting in July to discuss the issue - a first since passage of DOMA. Today's vote is the culmination of a massive lobbying effort by several LGBT organizations and pro-marriage equality politicians.

"Today's vote represents real progress toward a repudiation of the radically unfair, misnamed Defense of Marriage Act," said Evan Wolfson, founder and President of Freedom to Marry. "We are one step closer to eliminating DOMA's gay exception, which unfairly withholds the federal protections and responsibilities of marriage from loving and committed same-sex couples who are legally married."

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, an original sponsor of the Respect for Marriage Act added, "This is a major step forward to end the discrimination that is currently enshrined into U.S. law, and I applaud Chairman Leahy for pushing us forward. Marriage is the true foundation for strong families. Every loving, committed couple deserves the basic human right to get married, start a family, and have access to all the same rights and privileges that my husband and I enjoy. No politician should stand in the way of this fact."

"If Democrats and Republicans can come together to do what's right in New York, I know we can do the same in Congress to do what's right for all of America. Now is the time to act on the federal level."


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Annette Gross Annette Gross | November 10, 2011 6:48 PM

What is the next step?

Watch it fail a Senate vote or go down in flames in the House. They could barely repeal DADT, this stands no chance.

Then this gives the Democratic pondscum something to beat the drums about so the drones (JoeMyGod, Towleroad, Boy Culture) can get out the word to open up the GayTM coffers when Obama is up for re-election. Most Democratic brown-nosers will overlook that Democrats did not move on DOMA when they had majorities in both Houses, and call this an earnest and laudable effort instead of the filthy manipulation it is.

Even if by some miracle it made it out of the Senate it would never by introduced by Bohener in the House in a million years. This is political theater by Senate Democrats, intended to pander to their wealthiest lesbian and gay donors at election time.

This bill is going nowhere in this session of Congress and everyone knows it. Even Barney Frank has said that he believes DOMA will be resolved in the courts not by legislative action and that in any case it would not happen until after ENDA is dealt with.

You'd think that instead of this exercise in futility that if the Senate wanted to hold hearings on LGBT rights, they'd be holding them on the jobs bill, ENDA, that is if the Democrats are really serious about fighting for jobs other than their own.

I have to agree with Rebecca and Lucrece. There is absolutely no chance of this bill passing both houses and making it to the President's desk. I also see absolutely no logical reason for its introduction at this point in the political calendar, other than it being a sop to the LGBT cash-cows of the Dems. This is nothing but a political stunt and I foresee it backfiring badly.

So, it being Barney saying it, I am assuming by ENDA passing first, he means a trans-exclusive ENDA?

Excellent! As a Minnesotan, I was pleased with Al Franken calling Charles Grassley out on his misstatements about the history of marriage.

Grassley seemed subdued, if not defeated, choosing not to offer the amendments to the bill that had been distributed previously.

That didn't prevent him from making an incendiary contribution to the hearing, though, as reported by the Washington Independent:

Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa said, “The Fourteenth Amendment would probably never have been ratified if the public understood it to provide for same-sex marriage.

WTF! Was he suggesting that the country would have chosen to advance civil rights at a drastically slower pace than it did between the 1860s and now, if it only knew then that LGBT folks might be acknowledged in a century or two? Or, would he modify or repeal the 14th to limit LGBT access to equal rights?

Good for him recognizing that repealing DOMA is an equal protection issue, but how bizarre that he looks back wistfully to the 1860s, wishing that African Americans had been granted citizenship by some other means that carved LGBTs out.

The hatred against Democrats on this site is breathtaking. Can any of you remember hate crimes legislation, and the end of Don't Ask Don't Tell? Of course DOMA repeal won't go anywhere, for now - the new normal in the Senate is 60 votes for passage, and the Democrats only have 53. And the Republican Tea Party dominant House is full of folks who truly enjoy harming LGBT people. All you Democratic Party haters - see what it's like in America if the Romney is the next President, and Mitch McConnell joins John Boehner in running Congress. You will long for the days that the "pondscum" have more power.

Paige seems unable to tell the difference between 'hatred' and honest disgust.

Growing revulsion for Democrats stems from their long record of betrayal and contempt for our communities. It began with their with their promotion of DADT and DOMA under Clinton and the fact that Congressional Democrats voted for both overwhelmingly. Bill Clinton campaigned for DOMA. He supported and championed it. Then he gloated about signing DOMA.

Clinton didn't do all that because he needed votes, he was ahead. And he didn't do it because he was looking out for us by avoiding a Federal Marriage Amendment. Evan Wolfson, of Lambda Legal and the National Freedom to Marry Coalition says, 'That's complete nonsense. There was no conversation about something 'worse' until eight years later. There was no talk of a constitutional amendment, and no one even thought it was possible — and, of course, it turned out it wasn't really possible to happen. So, the idea that people were swallowing DOMA in order to prevent a constitutional amendment is really just historic revisionism and not true. That was never an argument made in the '90s.'' MetroWeekly

The original Federal Marriage Amendment was first introduced in the 107th United States Congress in the House of Representatives by Democrat Representative Ronnie Shows (D-MS) in 2002, six years after the passage of Bill Clintons DOMA.

Within hours of DOMAs passage Clinton held a midnight signing procedure to minimize press coverage. Within days the DNC and the Clinton campaign rushed to put this ad on redneck christer radio stations in Bible Belt states: "Protecting religious freedom. It's the foundation of our nation. When the Justice Department went after a church to gather the parishioners' tithing money, the government was stopped cold because President Clinton overturned the government's policy and protected us. It's not the only time he's defended our values… President Clinton wants a complete ban on late term abortions except when the mother's life is in danger or faces severe health risks, such as the inability to have another child. The President signed the Defense of Marriage Act, supports curfews and school uniforms to teach our children discipline. President Clinton has fought for our values and America is better for it.
Paid for by Clinton/Gore 96"


What exactly is Paige afraid of? Does he think the Democrats' cousins the Republicans won't pass ENDA or repeal DOMA? Does he think their presidential candidate will treat us with contempt until a new election looms?


And you folks are really saying since repeal of DOMA has no chance of passing, then starting the conversation is a waste of time? Really?? Having America begin talking about the rights for gay couples in the highest chamber of American government is a bad thing? Do you understand the political process at all?

No, I am saying that right now there is a far more important conversation to be had in Congress, and that's the one about protecting people's jobs and their right to work free of discrimination. If we know ENDA is going to go first (which we do), we know that nothing is going anywhere right now so any efforts in this session of Congress would be for purely educational purposes, and we know that with the economy still being what it is that a jobs bill which affects lower and middle class workers most directly has to take precedence over what's essentially (legally) a tax and benefits issue, one that's expected to actually be resolved in the courts, not by the legislature.

If the Democrats were serious about getting LGBT-relevant legislation passed when it becomes possible, they'd be holding hearings on ENDA, the next major LGBT-relevant bill expected to be introduced before a Congress which might actually pass it. The fact that instead they're putting on this show with DOMA speaks volumes in terms of both their intent and the value the Democratic Party places on fighting for LGBT rights laws that chiefly impact the working class.

I feel you make a great point here: The Dems are playing to the part of the LGBT that give them the most money and support. The most important issue for those ppl is marriage equality, NOT job rights for marginalized members of the LGB and T communities (most esp the latter).

jimtoevs@yahoo.com | November 11, 2011 1:18 PM

The degree of political ignorance on the part of many in the LBGT community is truly mind boggling. This vote on DOMA was incredibly significant, and we do owe a debt of gratitude to all of the Democratic Senators who voted for us in the Judiciary Committee. Rather than beat up on Democrats, we need to be doing everything in our power to elect a Democratic majority in the U. S. House of Representatives, preserve and expand the Democratic majority in the U. S. Senate, and to re-elect the Democratic President, Obama, who has signed more equality legislation into law than all of the Presidents combined in the previous 200 years.

Like the majority the Democrats had in the 111th Congress? They had everything they needed to pass ENDA but they didn't even try. There was no filibuster threat, nothing. They didn't even bother to hold a hearing. Please!

These people have proven they have to be consistently called out on our issues or nothing gets done. Unless, of course, it's the issues favored by the wealthy elite, marriage and military service. The rest of us apparently don't rate so much as casual notice from our so-called Democratic friends in Congress.

Class warfare, it's not just for Republicans anymore.

Well, what is really interesting to me is that a lot of what Obama has done has NOT been 'signing into law', but rather changing agency policy. I am wondering if as it gets closer to election time, the GL community is going to be reminded that the second day a new Repub pres is in office, those will all be reversed.

So, not that it was necessarily intentional at the time (I realize policy changes were the fastest and easiest way to have immediate impact), the executive-based basis for those changes will be a good source of leverage.

Personally the federal government should get out of marriage all together. The states should decide on marriage if anything. If a state decides not to acknowledge a marriage as legitimate than the state should be allowed to do so. I find it shocking that the minority is telling the majority what to do. If you don't know how our country works then you don't read history. The U.S. is a majority rule country. One day this will hurt new minorities, but that is how the country is run. Since most of us know that; we are willing to help the minority. However, what we get mad about is having is shoved at us everyday. You go to a house every day and protest something about them then either one of two things will happen. That person will give in or they will fight harder. Ex: The U.S. ended slavery after going through a war. Almost every other country in the world got rid of slavery without a war. The big difference is Lincoln sent soldiers down to SC when clearly they were not wanted. Then instead of trying to talk to the states that left; he sends more troops. If you have read about the War of 1812 then you would know that that act was a act of war. Lesson: If you push for a long time the people may give in and resent you, or they may choose to fight back even harder.

Where on earth did you go to school, The Citadel?

The union did not attack the slavers. Lincoln, to his eternal shame, did everything he could to pacify the southern slaveholders. His only goal in 1860-61 was the preservation of the union. The Confederates traitorously attacked the long standing US Army base at Ft. Sumpter in Charleston harbor which had been in service since 1829.

The US is not a democracy and the majority, the 99%, have vitrually no power compared to the 1% and the two parties of political prostitutes who 'service' them at our expense.

The War of 1812 began in... 1812. The Civil War, the Second American Revolution, began in 1860 and continued until we happily put Old Dixie down.

The states should not decide on questions of marriage equality.

Renee Thomas | November 12, 2011 3:18 AM

Mr. Dishmon,

I must admit that it's been a long time since I've seen a more ridiculously ignorant misstatement of history actually committed to the public record . . . no wait, of course there's always Michele Bachmann. Look man, do yourself a favor and read (for comprehension this time) some of the documents upon which our Republic was founded. If you do so you'll discover that we, in no way, shape or form, were founded in law as "a majority rule country."

Good gawd, simply breathtaking . . .

"Marriage is the true foundation for strong families."

except for all those marriage that end in domestic abuse, child abuse, sexual assault/abuse, incest and death. and we wonder why divorce rates are so remarkably high...

while trying to desperately ape heterosexual norms, lets not pretend that the institutions they've built aren't horrendously problematic.