DOMA | Jared Polis | Jerrold Nadler | News | Tammy Baldwin

'Respect for Marriage Act' Introduced to Repeal DOMA

(image via HRC)


U.S. Reps. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) Jared Polis (D-CO), along with John Lewis (D-GA) and Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) today introduced the 'Respect for Marriage Act', a measure that would repeal the 'Defense of Marriage Act' (DOMA). I'll be posting more details on the press conference as updates to this post as they come in.

Video clips, AFTER THE JUMP...

Nadler According to the Human Rights Campaign, the Respect for Marriage Act "would restore the rights of all lawfully married couples — including same-sex couples — to receive the benefits of marriage under federal law. The bill also provides same-sex couples with certainty that federal benefits and protections would flow from a valid marriage celebrated in a state where such marriages are legal, even if a couple moves or travels to another state...rights like Social Security survivors’ benefits, medical leave to care for an ailing spouse and equal treatment under U.S. immigration laws."

The bill has 91 co-sponsors (list here).

Bill Clinton, who signed DOMA into law in 1996, thanked the bill's  sponsors in a statement read by Nadler, The Advocate's Kerry Eleveld reports. Said Clinton in the statement: "Throughout my life I have opposed discrimination of any kind. When the Defense of Marriage Act was passed, gay couples could not marry anywhere in the United States or the world for that matter. Thirteen years later, the fabric of our country has changed, and so should this policy."

Lambda Legal called for the bill's swift passage. Said Executive Director Kevin Cathcart: "When DOMA passed in 1996 it was a gratuitous slap in the face. But now, 13 years later, there are thousands of married same-sex couples who are hurt by this law. We've come a long way in 13 years and the federal government shouldn't be in the business of deciding that some married couples are worthy of federal respect and others are not. Married same-sex couples pay federal taxes just like everyone else and have a right to the same respect, important benefits and protections as everyone else."

Said National Gay & Lesbian Task Force executive director Rea Carey: "We thank Reps. Nadler, Baldwin, Polis, Lewis and Velazquez for introducing this bill to dismantle one of the most discriminatory and far-reaching laws to emerge against our community: the so-called 'Defense of Marriage Act.' ... DOMA is and has always been an immoral attack on same-sex couples, our families and our fundamental humanity. This hateful law has only served to discriminate against people and belittle our country's heralded values of freedom, fairness and justice. It is long past time to repeal DOMA, which has left a moral scar on this country. Today marks an important step toward closing an ugly chapter in our nation's history, and for working to ensure same-sex couples and our families are treated fairly. Too many families have been hurt for far too long because of DOMA."

Rep. Barney Frank, the third openly gay member of Congress, said last week he was not putting his support behind the bill because he doesn't feel it has the votes to pass in the near term, suggesting that lawsuits currently underway challenging DOMA have a better chance of getting the law overturned.

Nadler was unfazed by Frank's assertions: "Mr. Frank knows better than anyone that our opponents will falsely claim that any DOMA repeal bill 'exports marriage' in an effort to generate fear and misunderstanding. But the dishonest tactics of our opponents should not stop us from aggressively pushing to end this horrific discrimination now. Our bill does not tell any state who it must marry or what marriage it must recognize under state law.

Videos of David Wilson, a member of HRC’s Board of Directors and a plaintiff in the Goodridge case, HRC President Joe Solmonese, Dawn BarbouRoske and Jen BarbouRoske, and Congressman Jared Polis, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. I am a little disappointed in Barney Frank. Even if the support is not there that is no excuse to retreat. That is giving up without a fight. Even if it fails the lawsuits are still in process. We should fight on all fronts available to us. Quit being so complacent.

    Posted by: George McGinnis | Sep 15, 2009 12:20:50 PM

  2. Is this the same gay leadership that refuses to do anything in California for the next couple of years? They are happy to let other do the work and get behind it, but God forbid they should be proactive themselves!

    Posted by: MTzz17by | Sep 15, 2009 12:50:57 PM

  3. Does anyone have a bill number, or the bill text?

    Posted by: mcc | Sep 15, 2009 1:11:30 PM

  4. I'm disappointed in Frank, too. He's become the House spokesperson for all things gay, so for him to hold back sends a message that queers don't want these changes.

    (Also wanted to let you know that Google Ads was serving up a Joe Wilson for Congress ad on the page I landed on.)

    Posted by: Ruby | Sep 15, 2009 1:13:48 PM

  5. I think Frank's in the wrong on this one. More visibility and forcing Senators to make tough decisions publicly can only help us. At the very least, we'd know who our friends were.

    At the same time, I wonder if a better first step might have been a bill that repealed only the section of DOMA that prevented federal recognition, but let states continue to deny other states' same-sex marriages. I'd rather pass an imperfect bill than not pass a perfect one.

    Posted by: Pender | Sep 15, 2009 1:26:02 PM

  6. I am a LOT disappointed in Barney Frank. So, Barney, when is the right time to repeal DOMA? 4 years? 10 years? 50 years? Give me a fucking break! The president wants it repealed. Not trying is NOT the solution. Get on board, Barney or get out of the way!

    Posted by: David in Houston | Sep 15, 2009 1:48:06 PM

  7. Bill Clinton and Barney Frank both make me sick. Who needs enemies when you have "friends" like these two?

    Posted by: Shane | Sep 15, 2009 2:03:59 PM

  8. I think Rep. Frank is being pragmatic and realistic. I support Rep. Nadler 100% as he has been a reliable friend to the LGBT community for a long time. Perhaps the bill would make a statement, but in reality, right now, with all the vitriol over Obama's efforts to fix the economy and health care, a bill to repeal DOMA might be a little too much. The Democrats won in 2006 and 2008. We need to solidify those victories even further. After 2010, if we can expand our Congressional majorities, then will be the time for DOMA and DODT and other heartfelt progressive issues. Let's make sure the progressive majority STAYS the majority.

    Posted by: mike | Sep 15, 2009 2:16:32 PM

  9. Hysteria, Obsession, and Narcissism in the Homophobic Right By Austin Cline
    Thursday November 16, 2006

    Isn't interesting how often religious conservatives treat homosexuality and gay marriage like they are the most pressing and dangerous issues facing Western culture? Even if we grant, for the sake of argument, that there are legitimate reasons to oppose them and be concerned about them, how can anyone justify acting like they threaten the very foundations of civilization? William Eskridge, a Yale law professor, has written that anti-gay prejudice has been marked historically by three characteristics. These are: (1) “hysterical demonization of gay people as dirty sexualized subhumans”; (2) “obsessional fears of gay people as conspiratorial and sexually predatory”; and (3) “narcissistic desires to reinforce stable heterosexual identity . . . by bashing gay people.” The primary historical traits of homophobia are thus hysteria, obsession, and narcissism.

    Source: IndeGayForum
    It's worth stopping for a moment to consider how these same characteristics are also true when it comes to other demonized minorities. The exact same things could have been said about the hysterical anti-Semitic beliefs in Germany in the first half of the 20th century. Dale Carpenter describes how these three characteristics have been popping up in the context of the Foley scandal...

    Hysterical Demonization:

    We can see the first of these characteristics, hysteria, in some of the reactions to the Foley scandal. “While pro-homosexual activists like to claim that pedophilia is a completely distinct orientation from homosexuality, evidence shows a disproportionate overlap between the two,” declared Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council.
    What Tony Perkins says isn't true, but it's also not the worst of the accusations which Christain extremists have been hurling at gays. It's frankly no different from when vicious anti-Semites were accusing Jews of killing Christian children in religious rituals, a myth that goes back to the middle ages but which was also used by the Nazis to pave the way for their own anti-Semitic policies.

    Conspiracy of Gays:

    The second characteristic of anti-gay prejudice, obsession, has been on full display. Some Republicans in Congress and religious conservatives told reporters that they suspect a “gay subculture” has infiltrated the party. This “Velvet Mafia”—as some have called it—allegedly consists of a number of gay Republican congressional staffers and other personnel. A conservative website asserted that the gay conspiracy includes nine chiefs of staff, two press secretaries, and two directors of communications for prominent congressional Republicans.
    Once again, there is no evidence for the truth these accusations — but it's easier to accuse gays of these sorts of misdeeds when they have already been the targets of so much demonization over the years than to admit to mistakes on one's own part. Jews, too, were accused of all sorts of anti-German conspiracies; indeed, the idea that Jews threatened to undermine German culture was a primary motivating factor behind a significant amount of the hatred of Jews.

    Sexual Purification:

    Finally, the Foley mess has demonstrated the third characteristic of anti-gay prejudice, narcissism. If the GOP loses one or both houses of Congress in November, one supposed lesson will be that the party was too lenient on homosexuals—turning off the party’s base of religious conservatives. Some thus see the scandal as a chance to cleanse the GOP of the impurity of homosexuality, to reassert the party’s stable, pro-family heterosexual identity.
    The obsession with purity is a common characteristic with fundamentalist and extremist movements. Usually the purity involved is sexual in nature, though some other types appear from time to time. Many are surprised to learn just how much of a role ideas about sexual purity played with the earliest Nazi storm troopers. Their writings contain many images of fear of being overcome with sexual desire, female sexuality, the presence of women, and so forth.

    Extreme homophobia and extreme anti-Semitism have a lot in common because they stem from similar, deep-seated drives in a person's personality. They both involve a need to exclude some minority as violently and absolutely as possible in order to solidify one's own sense of self. A person's identity becomes so bound up with what they are not that everything they do becomes part of denying that Other, even to the point of extermination.

    Posted by: Layla Miller | Sep 15, 2009 2:25:20 PM

  10. Types of Narcissists
    Types of narcissists include:*

    Classic The classic narcissist is overly self-confident and sees themselves as superior than other people. Think of a child who has always been told by mom and dad that they would be great, and then that child takes and internally distorts that message into superiority.

    Compensatory The compensatory narcissist covers up with their grandiose behavior, a deep-seated deficit in self-esteem. Think of a child who felt devalued but instead of giving up on life, resorts to fantasies of grandeur and greatness. This person will either live in that fantasy world or decide to create that fantasy world in real life.

    Inverted The inverted narcissist is a co-dependent who caters to the emotional needs of a classic narcissist. Often a relative or mate of a narcissist-- this person feeds the narcissistic supply of adulation, admiration, coddling etc. that the classic type requires.

    Narcissists are also either:*

    1. cerebral -- people who feed their narcissistic needs from their intelligence, academic, or professional achievements. Examples would be evangelists, CEOs, professors, physicians etc.

    2. somatic -- people who feed their narcissistic needs from their physicality, exercise, physical and sexual prowess including their "conquests". Examples would be models, professional athletes, actors etc. To break it down even further, we can take a look at the 9-point model presented by Bruce Stevens in his article: 'Narcissism: A Nine Headed Hydra? Exploring Types of Narcissism'. In it he describes:

    1. The Craver has a lot of love to give but always with strings attached. This type has a great fear of abandonment and clings to people they can connect with, but they are never satisfied.

    2. The Power Broker desires...well, power of course! They will do almost anything to gain power, and rarely consider any consequences of their actions. They can be bullies, arrogant, and cold. By any means necessary is their motto.

    3. The Rager is someone on the edge, and when their narcissism is bruised, they will lash out. These types are often verbally and/or physically abusive. Very controlling.

    4. The Fantasy Maker is the type that has retreated into their own reality, because they are living in defense of the painful reality of their lives. They do not live in truth and therefore have difficulty forming "real" relationships with others.

    5. The Special Lover is the type that believe love is the answer to all things. They believe that they have a special capacity to love and tend to idealize love and the people whom they love. Of course, they face deep disappointment when they realize that their love and/or the ones they love are not perfect.

    6. The Body Shaper is highly focused on their physical image. Fashion. glamour, Youth. Beauty. They live very shallow and empty lives, and they tend to deny ageing.

    7. The Trickster is an extremely charming and social type. These types can trick people into trusting them, but is very malicious and ruthless in these relationships. They feel a sense of entitlement and are without remorse.

    8. The Martyr revels in their suffering. They are victims and love telling people about it. THey totally identify with the pain they are dealing with in the present. They want care and support and will exploit others to get it. They tend to form relationships with others who have a need to be needed and then they are exploited. This is their way of controlling other people.

    9. The Rescuer is virtuous. They always take the high road in relationships. They appear kind, considerate, and they try too hard. They find it easier to give than to receive. This could be because they were a parentified child in a dysfunctional family.

    Posted by: Layla Miller | Sep 15, 2009 2:26:09 PM

  11. The text is here:

    It's a pretty straightforward act.

    Urge your legislators to sign on!

    Posted by: Kevinvt | Sep 15, 2009 4:31:22 PM

  12. Explain to me again why I am supposed to be for Frank? Don't wait. Do.

    Posted by: Derek Washington | Sep 15, 2009 4:53:53 PM

  13. It's H.R. 3567...

    Posted by: Mad Professah | Sep 17, 2009 1:40:58 AM

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