Nadler: DOMA Repeal Would Skip Domestic Partnerships, Civil Unions

Congressman Jerry Nadler plans to introduce legislation to repeal DOMA this week or once Congress returns from August recess, according to the Bay Area Reporter, but the legislation will not concern civil unions or domestic partnerships:

Nadler "Under DOMA's Section 3 the federal government is forbidden
from recognizing LGBT couples married in the six states where same-sex marriage
is legal. Section 2 of the law says those states that outlaw same-sex marriages
do not have to recognize legal same-sex marriages from other states. Nadler
said his bill would repeal both sections of DOMA. 'We have got to repeal DOMA and have got to make sure
it accomplishes for federal purposes allowing the federal government to
recognize same-sex marriages,' said Nadler, who led the fight to defeat a
Federal Marriage Amendment that would have enshrined the same-sex marriage ban
in the U.S. Constitution. 'The time for dumping DOMA is long
overdue.' HRC President Joe Solmonese said it makes sense to restrict
the debate over repealing DOMA only to recognition of same-sex marriage. 'We ought to start it with what we would ultimately
achieve, a wholesale overturning of DOMA,' he said. Nadler said that including domestic partnerships or civil
unions in his legislation 'gets very complicated' because the laws
governing such legally recognized relationships are "different in every
state." Also, he said it would cloud the legislation's end goal, which is
ensuring all Americans, regardless of their sexual orientation, have the right
to marry."

Congressman behind DOMA repeal nixes federal rights for DPs, civil unions [bay area reporter]


  1. DR says

    Hopefully he’ll do more than a week’s worth of work and give up. This could be huge if he works it properly.

  2. says

    Opponents of marriage equality in VT–including our governor–liked to say that CUs are the equivalent of civil marriage, that the change passed by the legislature was only symbolic, that we should have been happy with what we had. This is a perfect example of why that is not the case. Marriage=Marriage. CUs/DPs=Less Than Marriage. Kudos to Nadler.

  3. says

    Nadler has already put in “more than a week’s worth of work”. This is from the eQualityGiving’s website:

    “Since 1992, Nadler has represented the 8th Congressional District of New York, which includes the West Side of Manhattan, the historic Stonewall Inn, and one of the largest LGBT populations of any congressional district in the country. He is Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties, which has primary or joint jurisdiction over virtually every bill affecting LGBT civil rights. With a thirty-year record of tirelessly fighting for the LGBT community, he could not be more deserving of the title Equality Hero, and we could not be more fortunate to have such an aggressive and principled ally in a position with such influence over our issues.

    As a member of the New York State Assembly, in which he served from 1976 to 1992, Nadler was a leader for our community long before it became fashionable. Nadler was the only Assembly member who testified every year on behalf of New York City’s landmark lesbian and gay rights bill until it finally became law. He was an original sponsor of NY State’s employment nondiscrimination bill. He also authored and passed into law landmark legislation making it illegal for health insurance companies and funeral homes to discriminate against people with AIDS, and for pharmaceutical companies to price-gouge AIDS-treatment drugs.

    In Congress, Nadler has been an original co-sponsor of every major piece of LGBT civil rights legislation introduced in the House, and an unyielding opponent of every piece of discriminatory legislation aimed at the LGBT community. A founding member and vice-chair of the House LGBT Equality Caucus, he has personally authored the Uniting American Families Act, which he introduced in every congress since 2000 (including the present one), the Equal Access to Social Security Act, and the Father Mychal Judge Act. The Father Mychal Judge Act was signed into law in 2002, providing the first-ever acknowledged federal public benefit to same-sex couples by expanding who can receive federal death benefits to include the same-sex partners of firefighters and police officers who die in the line of duty. Nadler has also been the House champion on the Housing Opportunities for People with AIDS (HOPWA) program, and a key leader on Ryan White reauthorization.

    Nadler has focused his leadership in recent years in the fight for marriage equality. Nadler was an early and vigorous opponent of DOMA when it was introduced in 1996, and he was the first member of the New York congressional delegation to openly support marriage equality. When the Bush administration tried to pass the Federal Marriage Amendment, Nadler was the Judiciary Committee member tasked to lead the House floor fight against it. In 2009, he will introduce legislation to repeal DOMA and ensure access to federal benefits.

    Nadler is also an Equality Hero because of his leadership on transgender rights. Nadler was the first member of the House of Representatives to speak about transgender rights on the floor of the House. Since then, he has been an active proponent of transgender rights, including voting against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act based on that bill’s exclusion of protections for gender identity.

    But to me, what makes Congressman Nadler a hero is the true leadership he has demonstrated by supporting and empowering the grass roots efforts of our movement. Nadler secured the first-ever congressional appropriation for a non-AIDS-related LGBT organization, New York City’s LGBT Center. He has continued to bring millions of dollars back to New York for LGBT organizations ever since. On the fortieth anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, I had the great honor to be joined by Congressman Nadler at press conference at the Stonewall Inn where The Power announced the kick-off of a nationwide effort to expand the Civil Rights Act to include LGBT people. Nadler went one better in his comments announcing that his office is researching and drafting legislation to include LGBT people in all federal civil rights laws, empowering us to keep our eyes on the prize of full equality”.

    Sign the Petition for full federal equality here:

  4. says

    Of course Nadler’s right and that’s why CU/DP are NOT enough.

    Nadler’s my hero.

    [And yet, we’re rightly fighting to keep DP rights in WA state!]

  5. homogenius says

    Fighting for DP/CU is part of fighting for Marriage Equality. Every inch we advance the ball is a victory. Every city, county and state we pass ANY LGBT rights is a victory. It’s all part of a whole–the end objective being full equality for LGBT people in the United States. It has a cumulative effect.

    For example: One of the strongest arguments we have in lobbying for ENDA in the congress is the patchwork of state and local non-discrimination laws and policies in Fortune 500 companies. The argument becomes “well, if xx% of LGBT Americans are protected, don’t ALL Americans, even those living in rural or conservative locales or for small companies deserve the same protection?

    Every time we pass state and local DP/CU, the resulting non-controversy makes it easier to persuade reasonable people in the middle (including non-fundie and non-orthodox religious folk) that marriage equality is not the end of the world. Every state (and even foreign country) that enacts marriage equality makes the same argument.

    This is true for DADT. The fact that virtually all of our closest allies allow us to serve openly with little or no problem has been very persuasive and, among other factors, has not been lost on American voters. There’s a hardcore segment of the far right that may never be reached because they place their beliefs (religious or otherwise) above reason, fairness, and logic. But there are a lot of folks who are shifting, along with the generational shift in the electorate.

    So all these victories matter. Passing hate crimes matters. Fighting to retain DP in WA matters. Holding the line on marriage equality in Maine matters. We take every inch we can get and keep moving forward. Sometimes we leap ahead, like Lawrence or Romer. Sometimes it’s three steps forward and two steps back.

  6. DaveO says

    So he’s just throwing the gays in the other 44 states (including those which have DP/CU-type stuff) to the wolves.

  7. Dan says

    If they are “to the wolves” it would not be Nadler who threw them there. We as a collective whole will keep working to get more recognition for LGBT relationships. No one can solve this problem for everyone all at once. Also, for all of those who insist that DP and CU are good enough, this is one more reminder, they are not the same thing as marriage.

  8. says

    @ HOMOGENIUS: I didn’t mean to imply that CU/DP is worthless—far from it. Just not enough.

    You are correct: every victory counts!