Richard Socarides Hub

Nadler, Pelosi and 132 House Democrats File Amicus Against DOMA as Mark-Up to Repeal Bill is Pushed


Mark-up of the Respect for Marriage Act has been pushed to 10 am on November 10, following some discussion of the measure in the Senate Judiciary Committee today, MetroWeekly reports:

In opening the hearing, Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said of the Respect for Marriage Act's aim, in part, "What would change, and what must change, is the federal government's unequal treatment of state-approved marriages."

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the lead sponsor of the Respect for Marriage Act, opened her comments at the hearing by saying, "I voted against [DOMA] for the same reason then, that I [support] repeal now.

Watch today's DOMA hearing (via Think Progress) in full, AFTER THE JUMP...

The scheduling move was procedural, and somewhat expected.


A short time later, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tweeted, "Update on fighting #DOMA: Me + 132 House Dems just filed an amicus against this discriminatory law." with a link to an amicus brief filed in the Gill v. OPM and Massachusetts v. HHS cases by the lawmakers.

Here's the brief (PDA). It begins:

Some amici voted against the Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”), Pub. L. No. 104-199, 110 Stat. 2419 (Sept. 21, 1996), while others voted for it; still others were not in Congress when DOMA was enacted. But all believe, today, that Section 3 of DOMA, which defines marriage for all feder- al purposes as “only a legal union between one man and one woman,” lacks a rational relationship to any legitimate federal purpose and accordingly is unconstitutional.

Having concluded that Section 3 fails to fulfill the equal protection component of the Fifth Amendment, amici wish to share their unique perspective on why this is so. Amici also wish to make clear that the Bi- partisan Legal Advisory Group (“BLAG”), which has intervened in this case to defend Section 3’s constitutionality, does not speak for a unanim- ous House on this issue. While Speaker Boehner has the authority to di- rect the defense of DOMA by virtue of the divided 3-2 vote of the BLAG, many Members believe that Section 3 of DOMA violates the Constitution and should be struck down.

Yesterday on CNN, Equality Matters President Richard Socarides talked about where we stand on efforts to repeal DOMA and what its chances are in the future.

Watch Socarides and the DOMA hearing, AFTER THE JUMP...


Continue reading "Nadler, Pelosi and 132 House Democrats File Amicus Against DOMA as Mark-Up to Repeal Bill is Pushed" »

Attorney Theodore Boutrous Explains the Next Steps in the Federal Challenge to Proposition 8: VIDEO


Equality Matters President Richard Socarides talks to AFER attorney THeodore Boutrous about the next steps in the federal challeng to Proposition 8, at a talk at Hofstra University.


Continue reading "Attorney Theodore Boutrous Explains the Next Steps in the Federal Challenge to Proposition 8: VIDEO" »

'Hardball' Scrutinizes the Bachmann 'Ex-Gay' Therapy Clinic: VIDEO


Equality Matters President Richard Socarides and R. Clarke Cooper of the Log Cabin Republicans join Chris Matthews to talk about Michele and Marcus Bachmann and their positions on gay "reparative therapy".


In related news, the NYT looks at Marcus Bachmann's academic credentials:

Marcus Bachmann, the husband of the Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann, focused his graduate studies on the contentious question of whether day care was harmful to young children, and argued in his Ph.D. dissertation that “parents who can do so should delay full-time day care until into the fourth year of a child’s life.’’

And the Daily Caller takes a look at whether Michele Bachmann's migraine headaches might place doubt into her candidacy:

The Minnesota Republican frequently suffers from stress-induced medical episodes that she has characterized as severe headaches. These episodes, say witnesses, occur once a week on average and can “incapacitate” her for days at time. On at least three occasions, Bachmann has landed in the hospital as a result.


“When she gets ‘em, frankly, she can’t function at all. It’s not like a little thing with a couple Advils. It’s bad,” the adviser says. “The migraines are so bad and so intense, she carries and takes all sorts of pills. Prevention pills. Pills during the migraine. Pills after the migraine, to keep them under control. She has to take these pills wherever she goes.”

Continue reading "'Hardball' Scrutinizes the Bachmann 'Ex-Gay' Therapy Clinic: VIDEO" »

Thomas Roberts Talks to Richard Socarides About NY Marriage Equality Victory's Effect at National Level: VIDEO


Equality Matters President Richard Socarides spoke to MSNBC's Thomas Roberts this morning about the marriage equality victory in New York and what effect it might have on a national level.

They also discuss Obama's foot-dragging on the issue.


Continue reading "Thomas Roberts Talks to Richard Socarides About NY Marriage Equality Victory's Effect at National Level: VIDEO" »

Watch: LGBT Advocates Report Upbeat Meeting with NY Governor Andrew Cuomo on Marriage Equality


Reports on New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's private meeting with LGBT advocates yesterday in Albany are very positive.

Watch a MyFOXNY report on the meeting, AFTER THE JUMP...

Gay City News reports that LGBT advocates were extremely upbeat about the meeting:

Cuomo A source told Gay City News that one of the key issues discussed was just how proactive the governor’s team should be in coordinating the effort. There was initial resistance to the idea of stepping on legislative prerogatives, but then [Equality Matters' Richard] Socarides –– though not by his own account, in speaking to Gay City News –– made a persuasive case that in the absence of a quarterback in the executive branch on an issue of this significance, there is danger that the governor’s commitment might not be effectively represented.

Steven Cohen, a former federal prosecutor who is secretary to the governor, which puts him in one of the most powerful positions in Cuomo’s inner circle, will play that role –– something that provides a compelling objective standard to back up the characterizations of the meeting Socarides and others provided.

In addition to Cohen, others on Cuomo’s staff at the meeting –– which ran more than 90 minutes, with the governor in attendance for just over an hour –– were his counsel, Mylan Denerstein, Alphonso David, the out gay deputy secretary for civil rights who earlier in his career was an attorney at Lambda Legal, and community liaison Erik Bottcher, who formerly held this same post in Quinn’s office.

Watch a news report on the meeting which includes a statement from NYC City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, and an interview with Archbishop Timothy Dolan, who also met with Cuomo to express his opposition to marriage equality, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Watch: LGBT Advocates Report Upbeat Meeting with NY Governor Andrew Cuomo on Marriage Equality" »

HRC Suggests President Should Address Bullying, NOT ENDA or Marriage Equality in 'State of the Union' Speech

From a NYT piece in which The Caucus asks leaders of various interest groups around the nation what Obama should say in his State of the Union speech:

Fred Sainz, spokesman for Human Rights Campaign: Hrc

“This past year Americans were confronted with the epidemic of bullying against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young people that goes on in our schools. The State of the Union address would be an appropriate time for the President to assert leadership on this moral issue and call on all schools to address the problem head on.”

While bullying is certainly a worthy issue to take on, shouldn't HRC, our nation's largest advocacy group for LGBTs,be challenging the President to take on ENDA, or DOMA and marriage equality - something substantial and civil rights-oriented in the legal sphere?

Or is this what's setting the pace for HRC in 2011?

EqualitymattersRichard Socarides, president of Equality Matters, is more on track imho:

“In order to be the kind of transformational leader he can be, he should show the country the way forth on dismantling the so-called Defense of Marriage Act so that the law no longer robs the states of their right to decide the question of marriage, nor deprives lawfully married gay Americans of their federal benefits. That’s the advice I’m giving to all the people I know who might actually influence the speech. If you want to be a leader, this is the speech in which to do it.”


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