Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) to Introduce DOMA Repeal Bill Tuesday

I mentioned this briefly yesterday, but the Washington Blade has more details:

Nadler "Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) intends Tuesday to submit legislation
that would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and answer questions at a
Capitol Hill press conference. The event is set for 11 a.m. at the
House Triangle, near the southern steps of the Capitol Building. Nadler first told the Bay Area Reporter that he intended to
introduce a repeal bill and that the legislation would only affect
same-sex marriages — not civil unions or domestic partnerships…Gay Reps. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Jared Polis (D-Colo.) will
co-sponsor the legislation, but Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) hasn't
signed on in support."

Frank told the Blade he doesn't feel the bill can pass in the near term: "I think getting [the Employment Non-Discrimination Act], a repeal of
'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' and full domestic partner benefits for federal
employees will take up all of what we can do and maybe more in this

Frank also said he feels that lawsuits currently underway challenging DOMA have a better chance of having it overturned than legislation.


  1. Kevin says

    I’m a huge Barny Frank fan. I trust his insight and I respect the political process, but I feel that the best thing to do is to introduce these bills – and keep introducing them – until they pass. That’s the right thing to do.

  2. msark says

    Barney Frank dosen’t support DOMA, but an attempt to repel DOMA is a waste of resources atm. Hates Crimes, ENDA and repel of DADT all have greater support and all have or nearly have enough votes to pass the House and with help the Senate.

    Barney Frank wants people to focus on what can be achieved and on the bills that have momentum and year of lobbying behind them. DOMA couldn’t currently be repealed now even if 51 votes were needed. An attempt to repeal DOMA would also galvanize opponents more so than the other 3 bills together.

  3. B-rod says

    I would tend to agree with Msark. Barney is going to work with the Congress on what is doable in the short-term. It doesn’t mean he supports DOMA, but we all need to keep our eye on both short-term and long-term goals. DOMA is long-term for now.

    But I also whole-hardly support Nadler’s efforts to put the issue out front. It’s been nearly 15 years since DOMA passed and this is the first shot fired in a long battle.

  4. says

    I’m with Kevin – keep introducing and reintroducing the bill until it passes. I just hope this bill actually still gets introduced after what I’m sure will be some serious arm twisting between now and Tuesday.

  5. JimSur212 says

    Barney is right We aren’t even close to having enough votes in the House or the Senate to repeal DOMA. The only chance of overturning DOMA is in the courts. With Obama in the White House and with Democratic majorities in Congress, let’s get the Matthew Sheppard Act and ENDA enacted and DADT overturned. These three goals are realistic and would be H U G E !!!

  6. John says

    Only 14 senators – led by Ted Kennedy – voted against DOMA in 1996. I think we’re at least in the 30s with that by now. Many of the Democrats elected in 2008 are against DOMA (Franken, Merkley, Begich, Shaheen, the Udalls). We’re at the stage where it might still pass, but it would not be quite as veto proof as it was then.

    I think the House vote for DOMA would be considerably under 2/3rd as well. On the other hand, Frank is right in that there aren’t enough votes to actually repeal DOMA. It should’ve never been enacted in the first place. And if it wasn’t for Newt Gingrich (R) and Bill Clinton (D) fighting over who gets to rule the glorified trailer park that is the South, we might’ve avoid this nonsense entirely.

  7. says

    I guess I don’t understand why Barney can’t sign on. Does he have to spend time on it if he does?

    As to not being close to having enough votes, what can we do to change that? MY senators (Leahy and Sanders) and congressman (Welch) are ALL in favor of repealing DOMA. Are the rest of you pestering your representatives to support repeal of this as well as DADT and getting a full ENDA?

  8. Observer1000 says

    As someone who has suffered considerable hardship and discrimination because of DOMA I want it repealed right now! However, I see how Barney Frank works.

    He is one of the most powerful and smartest people in Congress. Not supporting a repeal of DOMA, this year, when he knows it won’t pass, gives him leverage over members of Congress that want to suck up to him by supporting ENDA, Fed benefits and ridding DADT. He can now twist their arms by saying he didn’t support the DOMA repeal legislation.

    Nadler is still doing the right thing because it will highlight to the current Congress how unAmerican DOMA is and that their are political upsides to supporting a repeal of DOMA, even in middle America.

  9. John says


    Probably because he’s afraid of something like this overshadowing ENDA, hate crimes, and DADT repeal…

    “The Wicked Witch of the West, Nancy Pelosi, and her homosexual flying monkeys are trying to destroy marriage. Tell Pelosi and the radical liberal Democrats to get their filthy hands off traditional marriage. Paid for by Republicans for the Preservation of Marriage. “

  10. DR says

    Must be nice to be a privileged gay man who at least has the opportunity to marry. So what if the rest of us peons can’t, right Barney?

    Typical Democrat, afraid of a little power. He seems to forget that his name on this would be symbolic, whether it can pass or not.

  11. Timothy says

    So Barney Frank isn’t supporting the gay community … again? Hmmm no surprise.

    I ceased respecting Frank when he endorsed and campaigned for the virulently homophobic Silber as gov. of Massachusetts over the pro-gay Bill Weld (whom Advocate called the most pro-gay governor in the nation).

    I’ve paid attention since then and there’s a pattern. Barney Frank supports what helps Barney Frank. And since he can’t personally gain from this bill, he isn’t interested.

  12. wes says

    Speaking of wasting resources, The Ryan White Act, which funds most of the meds and blood tests for those with HIV/AIDS, expires on October 1, and so far, no congressperson, as near as I can tell, has introduced renewal legislation. Since RWA’s renewal is a honest-to-goodness life & death issue, perhaps we turn out collective gaze its way. Marriage rights & equal protection are fine and dandy, but they can wait more two weeks.

  13. JT says

    Any of you who haven’t caught on yet that Barney Frank is more interested in his own position in the Party, than in same-sex rights for all, needs a reality check. Any word from him yet on the Equality March?

  14. says

    I highly recommend people read the Washington Blade article on this, especially paragraph 9-12. The title of this blog post is misleading.

    This is NOT a repeal of DOMA. This bill repeals the provisions titled Section 3, Section 1 & 2 would still be on the books. This means it will not grant people in states without gay marriage rights for heterosexual couples if they get married in Mass, thats section 2 of DOMA. It would allow the federal government to recognize gay marriages, section 3.

    This may sound good since with federal recognition you can get SS benefits and can file taxes jointly but there are two huge problems.

    First off even though only 1 part of the bill is being repealed the far right will use scare tactics to say it is forcing marriage on all 50 states. Which is almost sane considering its from the people pushing death panels and obama=hitler. So basically you are fighting a FULL repeal of DOMA and IF you win you only get half the bill repealed. And regardless of outcome it will distract from other legislation.

    Second by repealing section 3 which prohibits prohibits recognition who make DOMA stronger constitutionally. All that is left is section 1 & 2. This makes arguing in front of the SCOTUS to overturn DOMA harder. Section 3 is part of the bill which the law would most likely be overturned on. Section 1 is a mere definition and basic of section 2 is repeated in a lot of laws like those that don’t force states to recognize out of state gun licenses. So without it the SCOTUS will be far less likely to strike DOMA.

    This bill basically distracts from the current legislation that the LGBT community needs and can achieve by wasting time and energy, and for what? A bill that probably won’t pass and would delay full DOMA repeal if it did.

  15. silverkjk says

    Last week, Frank announced his interest in becoming a Cabinet secretary (Housing & Urban Development as I remember). I would assume that his lack of support of this bill is a signal to Obama that he will be a good, quiet gay and not give Obama any trouble.

  16. says

    DR, even a full repeal of DOMA won’t suddenly grant marriage rights in states that don’t have marriage equality.

    You can come to MA or VT now and get married, and that won’t change. Your home state may or may not recognize the marriage. DOMA only means your state is not REQUIRED to recognize it. It gives the bad states a legal excuse and cases aren’t even brought. I suspect even post-DOMA some states will still not recognize marriages performed elsewhere, and it will take more court cases to force them to recognize an out of state marriage.

    And yes, MSARK is wrong. It’s the targeted challenge to DOMA in the courts, the one Frank mentions, that is narrowly focused on only one section. This bill goes for the whole DOMA.

  17. DR says


    I’m not sure I agree with your analysis; a repeal of DOMA repeals the FFC prohibition in the Act. But anyway…

    The point is that Barney Frank has the legal right to marry his partner in his home state. I do not. And yet Barney, as usual, manages to find some excuse to not do the right thing, even if it is a symbolic gesture.

    I am getting very fed up with these cowards who support poorly-written legal documents stuffing us in the same class as child molesters and then turn around and go to some big fundraiser to show how much they support the so-called commander-in-chief.

  18. msark says

    “Nadler emphasized that the proposed bill wouldn’t force any state to marry gay couples or recognize same-sex couples under state law.

    “Our bill allows states to continue deciding those questions, while ensuring uniform access to critically important federal responsibilities and rights that hinge on marriage and upon which all married couples should be able to rely,” he said.

    The above is the part that made me think it’s only a partial repeal. If I’m interpreting the article wrong I apologize but it doesn’t sound like a full repeal.

  19. 24play says

    Ah, Towleroad. Where a complete lack of understanding of an issue—or law—never stops any commenter from blathering on about it.

    I do hear DR has some rather fabulous tattoos, though.

  20. mcc says

    To Wes on page 1:

    “Speaking of wasting resources, The Ryan White Act, which funds most of the meds and blood tests for those with HIV/AIDS, expires on October 1, and so far, no congressperson, as near as I can tell, has introduced renewal legislation”

    According to Wikipedia the Ryan White Act was reauthorized in 2006 and signed by George W. Bush.

  21. Brian from Tucson says

    DR ought to move to Massachusetts if he wants to get married. Blaming Barney for the bigotry of other states is just jealousy. Barney Frank is a smart politico who wants to move policy forward and not waste time on symbolic but losing efforts.

  22. wes says

    To MCC: Thanks for writing re my comment on page 1 about the Ryan White Act. You’re right. Bush did reauthorize the it in 2006. For three years. It expires this month on Sept. 30. So far, no one in Congress or the gay community has talked about renewing it. Everyone’s too obsessed with marriage. It’s going to be sad if Bush ends up having a better HIV/AIDS record than Obama’s…and that’s the way it’s looking so far, isn’t it?

  23. DR says

    Barney is quickly becoming a coward. He’ll call a nutjob at a town meeting an alien for giggles, but still supports and gives money to those who insist we remain second-class citizens. Sounds like he’s on the wrong side to me.

    And I shouldn’t have to move; I thought I lived in a country where equal rights meant something. I guess it only means something in 6 states.

    If the section of DOMA which deals with Section 2 of the law, which says those states that outlaw same-sex marriages do not have to recognize legal same-sex marriages from other states becomes void, that opens up a LOT of doors and legal challenges to state prohibitions.

    *ignores the ad hominem attacks*

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