BREAKING: Senate Judiciary Committee Approves DOMA Repeal

The Senate Judiciary Committee has approved the Respect for Marriage Act by a 10 – 8 vote along party lines.

But considering that the bill repealing the Defense of Marriage Act only has about 31 Senate votes and no chance of ever passing in he Republican-led house, is this all just an exercise in futility—or worse, a ploy to garner LGBT support for Democrats?

The Courage Campaign’s Adam Bink says:

“We may not get to the finish line on repealing DOMA before this Congress adjourns. But if you’re working to repeal DOMA with us, don’t let anyone tell you that your work is a waste of time. If we wake up within shouting distance of having enough votes come January 2013, then we need to be in a position to deliver the final blow, otherwise we may miss our chance.

We repealed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” at the eleventh hour, at the very end of the last Congress, and with some last-minute legislative maneuvering at that. Couples suffering from DOMA deserve a quicker resolution. That means we need to start changing senators’ minds now. Success is not measured by what we can do now, but by progress we’ve made to achieve a goal.”

Of course, the Commander in Chief is pleased—with a caveat. A statement from the White House read:

“President Obama applauds today’s vote by the Senate Judiciary Committee to approve the Respect for Marriage Act, which would provide a legislative repeal of the so-called ‘Defense of Marriage Act.’ The President has long believed that DOMA is discriminatory and has called for its repeal. We should all work towards taking this law off the books. The federal government should not deny gay and lesbian couples the same rights and legal protections afforded to straight couples.”

That doesn’t mean he’s okay with state governments denying us our rights, does it?

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  • Chuck

    Ok, GOProud. How do you justify being a Republican now?

  • Conrad

    We got this!

  • Jim Hlavac

    @Chuck: Sir, I’m not a GOProud member, nor am I registered Republican, though I do lean heavily towards a certain Tea Party Republican get a hold on the deficit attitude. But I also argue constantly to such websites and journals for gay folks like you and I. I must do this for as Mr. Bink points out — the whole nation is “evolving” on this issue, just as Mr. Obama is evolving on the issue, he says. And indeed, back in the mid-1990s he was all for gay marriage, and then when he ran for president he said clearly, repeatedly “I am not for gay marriage.” Joe Biden said it, Hilary Clinton said it. And so I ask, how do you justify being a Democrat?

    I keep saying — gayness is not a political position, nor does it confer some “liberal” or “conservative” view on anything — nor does it speak to whether the tax code should be 76,000 pages as it is or the 7,600 I would prefer. What on earth does gayness have to do with it? Speak to your Democratic party leaders, tell them hurry.

    As for the Bink’s apology for the Democrats not getting it done sooner, if the Democrats were so sure that DOMA should have been repealed, then they should have simply done it when they had absolutely veto and filibuster proof majorities – they did not — they didn’t lift a finger to do so. Now, when there’s no chance, they still can barely get it passed in the Senate they still control. So yes, in a way it’s pandering for our votes, or maybe they are just evolving faster than the Republicans. You’ll have to ask the Democrats — and I’ll keep working on the Republicans —

    for I don’t need only Democrats to accept gay folks — I need 320,000,000 Americans to accept gay folks.

  • Chuck

    @Jim Hlavac: Geeze, hit a nerve. Anyway, since you’re not a Republican or GOProud member, I wasn’t addressing my comment to you. Days like today when the two political group’s opinions on gay rights are so blatantly obvious, just makes me wonder what those people must be thinking. Refresher, EVERY Dem voted for gay rights today and EVERY Republican voted against us. Just Sayin.

  • Robert in NYC

    Chuck, civil libertarians are still republicans and so are tea partyers. Equality issues aren’t at all high on a gay republican’s agenda, in fact very near the bottom rung of the ladder. Even in good economic times, it would still be at the bottom.

    Jim Hlavac, regarding the deficit. Unless there is growth in the economy, you can’t address deficits. Creating growth means investing in infrastructure as a starter. Corporations are paying the lowest percentage of taxes in history. Lowering taxes has NEVER created jobs since the dawn of Reaganomics and proven over and over by the leading economists. The German economy has already debunked that myth, the second strongest economy in the world. When Clinton left office, corporate taxes were higher and so was the general income tax rate. End result? After Clinton’s second term, 22 million jobs were created and our manufacturing base was buoyant leaving the country with a net surplus of $237 billion. Unemployment was only at 3.9% at the time because we were making things to address the demand for goods and services. Enter Bush who cut taxes several times for the wealthy, only 4.4 million jobs created in 8 years. Not a peep out of the GOP about that, not a peep out of the fact that the two wars under the GOP watch were NEVER paid for and put this country’s economy in the tank. Not a word of acknowledgement about that by the GOP and refusal to take responsibility.

    Who among the GOP (including tea paryters and civil libertarians) is going to author any equality legislation if they’re elected President? Name one please.

  • Gary

    Sorry to say its simply a ploy to garner support for democrats for 2012 elections. There were NO votes to repeal DOMA in the 2008-2010 when democrats had virtually a filerbuster majority in the senate and complete control in the house. So this vote is DOA and the democrats know it. So my question is if Obama and the democrats REALLY wanted to repeal DOMA, why did they not make any attempts to do so 2 years ago when they had majorities?

  • B

    No. 6 · Gary wrote, “Sorry to say its simply a ploy to garner support for democrats for 2012 elections. There were NO votes to repeal DOMA in the 2008-2010 when democrats had virtually a filerbuster majority in the senate and complete control in the house. So this vote is DOA and the democrats know it. So my question is if Obama and the democrats REALLY wanted to repeal DOMA, why did they not make any attempts to do so 2 years ago when they had majorities?”

    First, neither party is a complete monolith, and the increase in the number of Democratic senators in the last election was from nominally Republican states, where a repeal of DOMA would not go over very well with their constituents. So, getting a cloture vote would have been difficult. Second, they were also trying to get health care and some economic programs passed, managed to get DADT repealed, and even then got it through with little time to spare. And the Republicans would have used any excuse to stall for time.

    None of us like it, but with a good chunk of the senate trying to prevent anything from happening, it was hard enough for them to get anything done.

    Would you rather have had McCain? Here’s a video of him on DADT: (unfortunately there is an ad at the start but you can skip it after 5 seconds). If he were our president, do you think he’d sign a DOMA repeal?

  • jason

    Don’t fall for the Democrats and their party trick. It’s designed to make us vote for them. When you consider that they had a super-majority in Congress just 2 years ago and did nothing – repeat, nothing – to repeal DOMA, it puts things into perspective.

    The Democrats are faking their concern for our rights – don’t fall for it.

  • Chuck

    @jason: Get over the lie that there was a super majority. Republicans sued Franken and held up his seat for 6 months. Then, once he was in Congress, Ted Kennedy died 6 months later. So there was a 6 month Super Majority. During that time they passed the Matthew Shepherd Act, and a little thing called Healthcare.

    Sure Dems are not perfect, no large group is. But they are certainly better than a party who boos an active serveiceman just because he is gay and then go on an austerity jihad, oh except when it comes to defending discrimination against gays, Boehner has all the money in the world to defend DOMA.

  • ewe

    Good news. Forward March.

  • wade

    The vote was good but it was only a “dog-n-pony show”. Yes, I would like to have DOMA repealed and gay marriage approved; but these are social issues. In my opinion, Washington really needs to focus on tax reform and stop the outrageous spending. Washington should have higher priorities than social issues. And, yes I would love to be married to my life partner of 29 years.

  • Chuck

    @wade: What kind of tax reform? More tax cuts for the rich? Because Businessman President George W. Bush…did such a wonderful job with the economy? Oh yeah MORE tax cuts and deregulation. 2008 should be every year. Hell, every month.

  • Riker

    @Chuck: I’m not a member of GOProud, but I am registered with the New York State Republican Party. I believe in lower taxes, cutting spending on non-vital areas (including Defense spending; we have to pay our soldiers and adequately equip them, but we don’t need to be spending billions on building newer and deadlier nuclear weapons). I believe in a balanced budget.

    I also believe that the best way to “evolve” Republicans is to open a dialogue. I have zero clout within the RNC so I don’t bother there, but I am active in local and state politics. I can usually get an audience with any of my representatives when I need, because they know my name. I show up to events and fundraisers hosted by my county Republican Committee, and while im there I talk to people. I tell them why they should support equality. Show them the studies indicating that gay parents are just as successful as straight parents. I’ve certainly changed a few hearts and minds, especially among the moderates.

    The radical right wing that the RNC panders to, the evangelical conservatives, will probably never be swayed. However, a huge part of the Republican voters are moderates, and very willing to listen to a reasoned argument.

    That is how I justify being a Republican.

  • Marc Paige

    Why are Log Cabin Republicans and GOProud so bad at getting the Republican Party to move forward on gay rights? If anything, the party of Lincoln seems to be going in a more hostile direction when it comes to the humanity of LGBT people, despite all the efforts of the gay Republicans. Gay Republicans have absolutely nothing to show for their years of lobbying.

  • Riker

    @Marc Paige: How about DADT repeal? Marriage equality in New York? Neither of those could have passed without a few brave pro-gay Republicans who wouldn’t even have considered voting that way 5 years ago.

    Progress is slow, but it is happening.

  • Chuck

    @Riker: The argument that we need Republicans in order to progress is one point of view and NY marriage is the only time this was ever reallly the case. Yes, that was important, but I would argue that NY is unique and you cannot really compare NY Republicans with hard core conservatives or Republicans from the South. NY Republicans tolerate us vs. most conservatives hate us. The Republican party has relied on demonizing a scapegoat because otherwise how can they gin up their mostly lower middle class base to vote for policies that are against their own economic well being. They demonized women, African Americans, Arab Americans, and 50 years ago Jews, Italians, whatever.

    Whether it was the women’s movement, Civil Rights, or gay rights, all progress toward equality in this country has been through the Progressive movement. Conservatives by their very nature only look backwards towards sexist policies and keeping minorities oppressed. And today’s batch of Republicans aren’t even really conservative as much as they are Regressive as their only ideas are to undo what Democrats have accomplished.

  • Bryan B.

    FACT IS, EVERY Democrat voted for repeal, EVERY Republican voted against.

    You can say this is a ploy, or that being gay is not a political issue, but the truth is overwhelmingly one party wants to give us equal rights, while the other does not and actively tries to take what little we have away. Any gay person that votes Republican is an idiot and only making their lives harder. Maybe gay Republicans care about other issues more, fine, but that does not change the fact that their choice is not in their best interest.

    Political ploy or not, who cares? This is a statement that would have been impossible 5 years ago. Every vote in Congress is political. You really think politicians don’t think of popular opinion when they cast their votes?

    I it were like in the UK where a self-respecting gay person could vote Conservative and not sell their soul, but sadly in the US, the only choice is the Democratic Party.

  • Riker

    @Chuck: But we DO need Republicans on board to progress. Anything that one party does that the other one hates can easily be undone when the pendulum swings the other way. We don’t need ALL republicans, but we need a few. DADT repeal wouldn’t have happened without a few Republicans like Senators Ensign, Burr, Kirk, Murkowski, Voinovich, Collins, Snowe and Brown voting to repeal.

    Out of those eight, six of them are still in the senate (Ensign and Voinovich chose to retire) and the only one that faces a tough election in 2012 is Scott Brown, though I think he’s going to win. That means that not only would Republicans have to gain four more seats this year to become the Senate majority, and win the Presidency, but pick up at least an extra six seats to have a prayer of reinstating DADT. Even then, if Dems filibuster they’d need more seats for cloture. That brings the total to 67 seats, which means they would need to win 20 Democratic seats and not lose any. Dems only have 23 seats up for election, so that has almost no chance of happening.

    They could easily gain four seats to win the majority, and they could win the Presidency, but those 8 pro-gay Republicans make it impossible for them to reinstate DADT. Republicans joining us means we win, and can’t be reversed.

  • Chuck

    @Riker: But you are expecting those 8 “pro-gay” Republicans to remain pro-gay without Dems leading the way with a strong majority. Yes, I agree, there are some Republicans that don’t totally suck in terms of gay rights, but, let’s be honest, would any one of them sponsor pro-gay legislation if their own party was in power. Nope. All they are good for is to go along when Dems carry the heavy load and actually sponsor pro-gay legislation.

    Yes, some Republicans voted with ALL the Dems to repeal DADT. But it took a Dem majority to even make such a vote feasable. The GOP leadership is very anti-gay so if they had been in power, DADT would not have been repealed. I also think Elizabeth Warren would be much better for gay rights than Scott Brown. So let’s hope she wins in MA.

  • declanto

    PC and PIC get E for EFFORT. This is how the agenda advances, by mutual respect and honest exchange. Thanks for that. Both sides in this exchange have valid points. Still, for me personally, i remain a Progressive Democrat because my gut instinct tells me who wants to put me in a cold dark place and who doesn’t. And for all his fumbling, awkwardly missed opportunities, Obama is still far better than anybody the Republicans could possibly field in 2012.

  • Robert in NYC

    Nos. 6 and 8, even if Obama had supported repeal of DOMA from the outset, there are several blue-dog democrats who wouldn’t have supported it, the same ones who opposed the public option. You need 60 votes to pass any bill and it would have required some republicans to support it. So stop the nonsense and face facts, something republicans have difficulty in doing when things aren’t going their way. All of the republicans voted against the Respect for Marriage bill and all democrats didn’t. What does that tell you about your beloved rethuglican party and their low information tea party and civil libertarian scumbags?

  • Steve

    Cheese and Rice! your legislative processes go on for millenia. I’m suprised that voting rights for women isn’t just now being put to a floor vote.

  • Riker

    @Robert in NYC: We’re not talking about all the republicans and all the democrats in the entire Congress. We’re talking about 10 democrats and eight republicans. Don’t pretend they represent the entire party, there are plenty of moderates out there. Like Senators Brown, Snowe and Collins.

  • Shannon1981

    @Riker: NY Republicans are not like most conservatives. An NY Republican is about the equivalent of a southern Democrat. Apples and Oranges. I do not, nor will I ever, understand any minority-gays, blacks, latinos, whoever- voting Republican. Make no mistake, that is the party of bigotry. Period. Democrats are far from perfect, but the current Republicans are downright dangerous to anyone who isn’t straight, while, male, and Christian.

  • jason

    I give the Democrats two out of five on gay rights. This means a fail. They have failed miserably to advance the “fierce passion” espoused by Obama before the election in 2008. Of course, once he got into power, Obama was like a limp, wet towel. He had to be pushed into signing the repeal of DADT.

    Therefore, I’ve decided that I won’t be voting Democrat in 12 months time. I’ll be voting Republican. I don’t care if it’s a controversial move on my part. I’ve had it to my back teeth with Democrats and their fake gay advocacy, not to mention their blatantly transparent attempt to scam the votes from our community.

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