Bil Browning

COW: A Back & Forth Over DOMA Repeal

Filed By Bil Browning | November 13, 2011 7:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: Defense of Marriage Act, Democratic Party, political statement, political theater, Respect for Marriage Act, Senate committee

An interesting discussion sprang up on my post, "Senate Committee Passes DOMA Repeal Bill" about whether or not the hearing was simply political theater. Marc Paige and Becky Juro pretty much sum up the two camps in this back and forth, but Thumbnail image for comment-of-week.jpgI'll be interested in hearing your thoughts.

Was the hearing and and passage of the bill just a dog and pony show since it would never make it through full votes of the House and Senate? Or was it an important public statement about where we are in the struggle for marriage equality?

Marc Paige | November 11, 2011 12:38 PM
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?

Rebecca Juro | November 11, 2011 1:02 PM
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.

Leave a comment

We want to know your opinion on this issue! While arguing about an opinion or idea is encouraged, personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please be respectful of others.

The editorial team will delete a comment that is off-topic, abusive, exceptionally incoherent, includes a slur or is soliciting and/or advertising. Repeated violations of the policy will result in revocation of your user account. Please keep in mind that this is our online home; ill-mannered house guests will be shown the door.

I'm in camp one. Camp two has no idea what multitasking is.

It's both. A necessary step, but not sufficient.

Much of politics is theater, and political theater is essential to politics, so calling anything “simply” political theater misses several key points. Theater is one part of the 100-step process of enacting legislation. Each step puts the spotlight on the subsequent one, and forces the next actors onto the stage, and into the scene. No step can start until the one before it finishes.

Voting RFMA out of the Senate committee is one of many prerequisite steps to becoming law, so of course it’s necessary, and of course it’s progress. Everyone should stop talking about whether it is or isn’t progress, or how much progress it is, and just hop right onto the next step.

Contrary to what far too many people who were "advising" felt, repeal of DADT, repeal of DOMA, and ENDA are NOT mutually exclusive, and have not been. There is no GOOD reason why enacting ENDA should have been shoved to the side.

It is not simply political theatre for the Senate Judiciary Committee to have called for the repeal of DOMA. It's been done once, now, so assuming that the American voting public recovers some sense of reality and rationality, presumably the next time around it can be done again and with less wear-and-tear.

With 42 sponsors and co-sponsors, including the Maine ladies, and including the chairman and several members of the Senate HELP committee, in theory it should not be a big deal for ENDA to make it out of committee. Exactly WHAT would be needed to get the committee to vote on it, I am not in a position to say.

But the issues are not mutually exclusive, and we should not pursue our goals on the basis of "either-or."

EdA and Ned said it best. This was an important first step, just as the previous hearings that were held on ENDA. When one looks at how many sessions of Congress the Famiily Medical Leave Act had to endure, it only makes sense to start from the most basic point and to see it get out of Committee successfully.

We need to stop being cynical and support our friends in Congress. Senator Feinstein, our esteemed Senior Senator from California, will easily be re-elected next year. She was the lead sponsor because she is sincere and she is probably the most knowledgeable and understands the legislative process best.

Watch this video of Senator Feinstein at the San Francisco HRC Dinner held two weeks ago. If people still thinks it's political theater, well, then there's no hope for you.

And how do these address my comments about DOMA and Senator Feinstein who lead the RFMA?

Please try living in the now and get over your hurt feelings. If not, this resentment may cause unintended consequence. We can always revert to our friends on the Republican side, because we are so cynical of every move made by our Democratic allies.

If Maggie thinks it was important, maybe it is. Maggie Gallagher from the anti-gay NOM is urging readers to call their Senators because she feels the Democrats acted on DOMA for still another reason - to influence the Supreme Court:

"This week, in a rigid party line vote, 10 Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to repeal DOMA--now the whole Senate has the fate of marriage in its hands.
Why would Democrats want to repeal DOMA? Especially when they know it can never become law because the House is in GOP hands?
The answer is clear and simple: They want the Senate to repeal DOMA in order to help persuade the Supreme Court to invalidate DOMA.
Call your senator today. Click on the link below.
Tell him, or her: Marriage is the union of husband and wife for a reason. Children need a mom and a dad.
Tell them "Don't repeal DOMA. I vote!"
Thank-you. Together, we can change history."
Maggie Gallagher
Culture War Victory Fund
An Initiative of the American Principles Project

It certainly is important for NOM's fund-raising!

Given the utterly corrupt nature of four members of the Supreme Court, assuming that enough members of the Supreme Court would agree that the 9th and 10th Amendments to the Constitution are actually in there -- something disputed by William Rehnquist, Robert Bork, and Antonin Scalia, it would be exceedingly unlikely that any ruling would be broad-based because declaring all of DOMA unconstitutional would not increase the power of big business to subvert democracy, or destroy people's lives or strip-mine the Treasury for private profit.

So Maggie is basically playing mind games for the mindless.