GOP Lesbian Who Had Hand In Writing DOMA Now Lobbying For Its Repeal

Hmm… is Kathryn Lehman the lesbian version of Ken Mehlman?

Sixteen years ago, Lehman was a Republican Hill staffer helping to write the language for the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the federal law that limits the definition to marriage as between one man and one woman, reports the Huffington Post.

Then, she was chair of the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution. She was engaged to the one man that her one womanhood would eventually marry.

Nowadays, the 52-year-old is working on the Hill as as a lesbian GOP lobbyist trying to repeal DOMA, the product of her hand. She’s also happily partnered with longtime friend Julie Conway, a political fundraiser who she really hit it of with at the 2004 RNC.

She tells HuffPo reporter Jennifer Bendery that, when she wrote DOMA in 1996, it was just a totally different time:

“There was nobody married, it wasn’t allowed anywhere. The view of gay people … it wasn’t Ellen [DeGeneres]. It wasn’t Neil Patrick Harris. It was kinky sex and women riding around on motorcycles without shirts on. That was sort of the view that the community projected as well. It wasn’t people that you know, people that you work with, people just like everybody else.”

Well, Ellen did the “Yep, I’m Gay” People mag cover in April 1997, so DOMA doesn’t quite predate it so much. And, right, all lesbians were affiliated with Dykes on Bikes® in 1996. Obviously! The worst part might be that Lehman realized what she was doing was wrong but didn’t act on it. She says of Barney Frank’s moving testimony against DOMA:

“I remember Barney Frank saying at the time, ‘I don’t understand how me being married to my partner hurts your ability to be married.’ And I remember thinking, ‘Yeah, I don’t either.’”

Well, now you’ve got the platform to reverse the harm you did, Lehman, so that your partner can receive the federal health benefits you wrote that she didn’t need back in 1996. Better work hard on that!

Photo via Holland & Knight

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  • Kevin

    She was chief counsel, not chairwoman. There’s a huge difference. The Chair is a member of Congress and is responsible for the docket; they’re essentially in charge of the subcommittee. The Chief Counsel is just the main lawyer employed by Congress to ensure that the committee’s bills are phrased legally. So while she played a part and this is an interesting story, you’re implying a level of responsibility that she simply didn’t have.

  • MEJ

    So former closet case makes money drafting a law that makes our lives difficult, hooks up with a woman, and is now making money lobbying to get DOMA repealed. Must be nice being GOP trash.

    I don’t know what is more offensive–that she helped make this law, or that she didn’t see us as people.

  • The Real Mike in Asheville

    @MEJ: Just to keep a “fair and balanced” record, more than half of the democrats in both the House and Senate voted in favor of DOMA and the legislation was signed into law by democrat Bill Clinton.

    While this was a Republican “wedge” issue effort, it failed as a wedge issue as the Democratic leadership jumped on board. Fair case here to lump ignorant Democrats in with bigoted Republicans, as we, the gay community, were the ones who got fucked, and not in the fun way.

  • Greenluv1322

    People like this make me sick!

  • Charlie in Charge

    “And I remember thinking, ‘Yeah, I don’t either.’”

    And she went along with it anyway. She’s definitely not a person with a strong personal ethics – but then when one considers her political party of choice that should make sense.

  • MEJ

    @The Real Mike in Asheville:

    Wow! Thank you for that info, Mike. It’s a real eye opener. After all, in 1996 I was living on the moon, in a cave, with my fingers in my ears.

    Now go back to reading Jimmy LaSalvia’s tweets.

  • Troy

    DOMA. Brought to you by the Democrats (Bill “I did not have sexual relations with that woman” Clinton)

    Don’t forget that.

  • Jonathonz

    You better WERK girl!

  • randy

    What?! In 1996 her view of gay people was a stereotype? Excuse me, but I was out and proud in 1996 and I certainly was aware of a vibrant and diverse community of gay people. And I live in Washington, DC. If she had spent two minutes doing a bit of real research instead of listening to Rush Limbaugh and Fox News, she could have easily found gays and lesbians who were anything but the stupid stereotypes.

    All she is doing is confirming how lazy she was in her own research. And when confronted with the reality that Barney Frank said, she affirmatively refused to listen.

    So it’s total bullshit to hear this woman excuse her actions and blame the media and the gay community for not projecting a “proper” reflection of the community.

  • the crustybastard

    Reminds me of Frank Cornelius, the asshole who wrote Indiana’s “tort reform” statute capping medical malpractice damages at $500K, with $0 for pain & suffering. Then Cornelius was paralyzed by malpractice and realized his injuries would cost him $5 million.

    Now, I don’t feel bad about these assholes being hoist on their own petard, but I’m sickened about all the people they screwed. Including their own family.

    So Kathryn Lehman, even if you do get DOMA repealed, it doesn’t undo all the harm it caused. The harm YOU caused…in furtherance of your goddam career.

    Don’t expect gratitude. You’re no hero.

  • ian

    @the crustybastard: my thought exactly. I know ppl have there own personal journeys to self acceptance and coming out, so i’m glad to see she’s trying to help rectify the situation. She can’t undo the past harm she’s caused to others, but she can at least help prevent further harm from being done. I encourage her to do that, but still, there is an element of F U, U EFING GOP WHORE! AND F U AGAIN U EFING GOP PIG-BEOTCH.

  • Andy

    “It was kinky sex and women riding around on motorcycles without shirts on. That was sort of the view that the community projected as well.”

    Yeah, because people like *that* don’t deserve rights. She’d fit in very well on the Queerty comments, judging by the comments on the Dominica cruise ship story.

  • Just being real

    She’s a total hypocrite and I doubt she’s sincere about LGBT rights. It’s just as bad as Obama and how he and his administration have defended DOMA more than any other president yet he’ll claim he’s for same gender marriage and LGBT rights when he’s not.

  • Bipolar Bear

    What a thing to have on your conscience. Pass the cognac, dearie.

  • MikenStL


    I concur with many of the comments above. In 1996, I was a 26 at the time and didn’t come out to my ex-wife until a few years later. It is great how far we’ve come, but so sad how far we still have to go. But it still ticks me off when you find out how many gay people where (and still are) instrumental, or at the very least colaborated with the active denial of equality. It would be one thing to say, “I don’t agree, and won’t participate in XYZ” But instead she justifies her position by saying that people involved in “kinky sex” don’t deserve equality”….

  • Bob

    She is the equivalent of a Jew supporting the Nazi regime.

  • Rooney

    The only reason for a woman to be part of anything GOP–she’s a lesbian, so she can’t be homophobic (or is she!?), she’s a woman, but she can’t hate women and willfully support the eroding of reproductive choices (or is she!?)–is that she’s a flaming racist.

  • Red Assault

    Typical fucking closeted conservative bitch.

    “back then gay people were all ugly and weird looking so I figured it was ok to hurt them for my own political and social gain. It’s not like they were human, or anything. But now that I openly munch the carpet, I have something to gain personally by ending DOMA and if I do, there’s gotta be a nice book deal in it for me, too.”

    If I was a bit more angry and spiteful than I am, I’d hope her fuck buddy gets cancer and dies without health insurance so Kathryn can watch helplessly, knowing that it was her own hand that guided the laws that blocked the health insurance and might have saved her life.

    Not that people like that have hearts or souls, anyway. And like most of those fence-jumping part-time lezbos, she’s going to be dating a man in a few years anyway. Probably try to get a job with an ex-gay group.

  • The Real Mike in Asheville

    @Bob: In the singular, called “Kapo” as a group, “Kapos”. And indeed, this women was a kapo, and her actions today do not remedy the hurt caused.

  • FunMe

    Further proof that republiCON are selfish TRASH. They only care about doing anything for others if it affects them directly. I spit on them all! Ugh!

  • FunMe

    @ian: Couldn’t have said it better like you did at the end. Love it!

  • Skooter McGoo

    Not forgiven. No even close. This woman purposefully did things to further herself to her GOP party of gay hate. No thought of how it would destroy those same gay people she wants to get forgiveness from now. Ken Mehlman & she want to be trusted? Wouldn’t take my eye’s off of either as they would surely cut your throat from behind. People will often forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.

  • Brand

    I’m perfectly willing to thank Kathryn Lehman for her work on behalf of gay people now, even if she was working against us all those years. “Too little, too late” comes to mind, but I’m a Christian, so I strive for forgiveness.

    But I want to point something out. Gay Democrats are progressives, which means they make the world what they know it ought to be and they be who they are whether there is a place for that yet or not. Gay Republicans are conservatives, which means they accept antiquated notions about what was intended hundreds or even thousands of years ago rather than understanding how best to apply core tenets to who and where they are today.

    So it’s no surprise at all that Barney Frank was not only living with a man but asserting his and every man’s right to do so (as well as women), while Ken Mehlman and Kathryn Lehman were not merely living a lie, and not merely proscribing that for the rest of us, but actively working to see that we were disenfranchised. I don’t accept that from straight people and I sure as hell don’t accept it from gay people.

    My rights to live a life with rights equal to that of any other U.S. citizen shouldn’t have to wait until you get around to making up your mind that YOU’RE gay and going to come out. And I don’t understand this thing about conservatives who need to KNOW someone (much less know this aspect of themselves) before they can understand how and why our legal civil rights should be protected under the law. The concept that the rights of the minority had to be earnestly and robustly protected from the tyranny of the majority is something that was abundantly clear to the founding fathers and set down in our founding documents.

    This isn’t all just a job assignment for most people, and our souls yearn to breathe free and our hearts yearn to cleave together as one on our own timetables and for our own healthy maturation, for some of us in our youth, not just our middle age. Love, like liberty, should not be subjected to second- or third-class status in a nation like the United States.

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