Why Don’t John Boehner And Pals Want To Defend DOMA On TV?

U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White wanted to videotape the legal proceedings of Golinski v. United States Office of Personnel Management, a case where federal court employee Karen Golinski’s wife got denied health benefits because of the Defense of Marriage Act. But to videotape the proceedings Judge White needed the consent of both the plaintiff and the defendant. Golinski’s legal team agreed. The Republican-led Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group appointed by House Speaker John Boehner however… not so much.

DOMA defender House General Counsel Kerry Kircher signed a filing on behalf of BLAG preferring “not to participate in this district’s pilot project permitting video recording of courtroom proceedings.”

In response Tara Borelli, a Lambda Legal attorney representing Golinski said, “We believe the harm DOMA causes daily deserves an open and public hearing, as do the arguments put forth by those using taxpayer dollars to try to perpetuate this discrimination. It is telling that the proponents of discrimination are unwilling to subject their arguments to a full and public airing.”

You’d think that the so-called defenders of marriage would want their fellow Americans to understand the legal procedures behind a law intended to “protect children”. But no.

In related news however, the Respect for Marriage Act to repeal DOMA now has 122 cosponsors—two more than it had last term when it was first introduced. It needs 218 sponsors votes to pass the House and 51 to pass the Senate. Right now only 30 Senators behind it.

Image via DonkeyHotey

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  • Cam

    It’s the same reason the Klan wouldn’t want their meetings televised. The fact is, the ONLY defense that Boehner and his ilk have is that gays are “Icky”. That doesn’t play well on TV.

  • Mike in Asheville

    Time to go back to civics classes: Re: Respect for Marriage Act: “It needs 218 sponsors to pass the House and 51 to pass the Senate. Right now only 30 Senators behind it.”

    That is simply incorrect. Sponsors are the members who agree before hand to bring a bill to the attention of their respective house. The more sponsors the better, but one does not need a majority of members as sponsors; they need a majority of votes to pass. While 218 is a majority in the House, and 51 in the Senate, it actually can be less, depending on the number of members present at the time of the floor votes.

  • Alex

    It only needs 51 to pass the senate?

  • Hyhybt

    @Alex: In theory only, unless either there’s a way to prevent filibustering or the other side isn’t interested in blocking this.

  • Elloreigh

    @Alex: The senate has 100 members – two from each state. It only takes a simple majority, so yes – 51. And it’s an impossible number to get on something like this. The senate is too evenly split, and there are too many Democrat defectors to ever get it done.

  • Elloreigh

    @Hyhybt:Good point – forgot momentarily about the filibuster. I’ve been saying for years: If you want change in this country, it’s the senate that you need to change. Until we do, it won’t matter much what happens in the house or who is president.

  • B

    o. 3 · Alex wrote, “It only needs 51 to pass the senate?” A bill, not a constitutional
    amendment, requires a simple majority to pass (one more vote than half of the senators
    present, provided there is a quorum). The catch is that you need a higher number of votes to reliably shut off debate in the senate due to the cloture rules – senators can spout as long as they want (or can without wearing out), thereby delaying a vote indefinitely, unless 3/5 of the senate vote to end the discussion.

    for an “official” description of the procedure.

  • Chuck

    Private discrimination doesn’t look so good in public. Pathetic, golfing, orange evil, do nothing, crocodile tears Speaker.

  • Steve

    Alex wrote, “It only needs 51 to pass the senate?”

    Sorry, but you are wrong.

    Under the Senate rules that have been in effect for nearly two hundred years,
    1. A single Senator can “hold” any bill or “filibuster” a bill.
    2. A three-fifths-plus-one majority is required to pass any bill, if any single Senator wants to “filibuster” that bill.
    3. Every single bill for the last several years has been “filibustered”, by a Republican.
    4. For every bill there is at least one Senator who has accepted “campaign contributions” (aka, “bribes”) to oppose the bill.

    Basically, it takes 61 Senators to pass anything.

    The only way to get any semblance of normal process, is to elect 61 Democratic Senators. Until then, nothing will pass.

  • the crustybastard


    If you need 61 senators to pass anything, you’d need 61 Republicans…or about 86 Democrats.

  • the crustybastard


    According to THOMAS, there are 29 cosponsors.

  • tjr101

    @Steve: And even when there are 61 Democrats there is no guarantee anything progressive will pass. Need I mention the likes of Ben Nelson, Mark Pryor and the other so called Democrat from West Virginia. This country is so screwed.

  • Brian

    “The only way to get any semblance of normal process, is to elect 61 Democratic Senators.”

    Pretty much tried that before. When Obama came into office, there were 58 Democratic Party Senators plus a number of liberal Republicans (who all got ejected) — more than enough to get 61 votes. Yet the Senate that year was just as much of a do-nothing Senate as any we’ve had the last three decades.

  • Jean

    Actually, only 50 votes are needed in the Senate, the VP casts the tie breaking vote and Biden is for this. However, all it takes is one person against it to threaten to filibuster, which is why nothing passes anymore.

  • B

    No. 14 · Jean wrote, “Actually, only 50 votes are needed in the Senate, the VP casts the tie breaking vote and Biden is for this.”

    Not exactly (but close). See
    for details. While the VP can break a tie, you otherwise need a majority of those senators actually present and voting to pass a bill. A quorum means that a majority of the senators are present, regardless of how they vote, and even regardless of whether they are awake.

  • the crustybastard


    The same Joe Biden that voted for DOMA is now against it?

    Gosh, whatta guy.

  • Hyhybt

    @the crustybastard: You say that as if nobody in history has ever changed their mind in the course of fifteen years.

  • the crustybastard


    You say that as if Joe Biden had no idea it was wrong when he voted for it.

  • Marcus


    You’re right.

    That shit might sound good at your local town hall or in your own home, but The Daily Show, CNN or MSNBC running that footage, you wouldn’t even need the ominous music, it would come off disturbing.

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