Thursday, September 15, 2011

DOMA Repeal Reaches Milestone in House

Given the huge losses House Democrats suffered in the 2010 elections, one might assume that the 112th Congress would have fewer cosponsors than the 111th for the "Defense of Marriage Act," the law that bars gay couples from receiving the same rights straight couples receive.

But not so: Amanda Terkel for the Huffington Post reports that the "Respect for Marriage Act" - the law that would repeal DOMA - now has 124 cosponsors, up from last Congress's 120.  The latest cosponsor apparently made his decision in response to the push for a state constitutional amendment prohibiting gay marriage in his home state of North Carolina:

Rep. Brad Miller (D-N.C.) has decided to fight for federal marriage equality because of the Republican push to ban it in North Carolina. He told the Advocate on Wednesday that he would become a cosponsor of the federal legislation to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage for federal purposes as between one man and one woman.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), the ranking member of the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, will announce the addition of both Miller and Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, as cosponsors to the Respect for Marriage Act on Thursday, according to the congressman's spokesman Ilan Kayatsky. On Tuesday, Reps. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) and Tim Walz (D-Minn.) were added as cosponsors.
The announcement comes just days after the Senate reached a milestone itself, with a record 30 Senators supporting DOMA repeal.

That a GOP-controlled House would have more co-sponsors than the House before is just confirmation of what we already knew: that DOMA is on its way out and that the American people are tired of government-backed discrimination.  A poll commissioned by the Human Rights Campaign shows that a plurality of Americans oppose DOMA.

Graph courtesy of the Human Rights Campaign

While DOMA will surely be around so long as the House is controlled by the GOP, there is no denying that support for repeal is at an all-time high, both in Congress and across the country.  It is only a matter of time - perhaps just a few years - before DOMA is gone for good.

Call your congressmen and tell them you oppose the discriminatory "Defense of Marriage Act" and want them to co-sponsor the "Respect for Marriage Act."


  1. Great post - I couldn't agree more. I was ecstatic when Don't Ask Don't Tell was repealed (despite the many blocks before July of last year). I would like to think that - in a perfect world - the 113th Congress would repeal DOMA. Maybe it will - I think we are on the fast track to that happening. Someone said to me not too long ago that 20 years from now, we are going to look back and see these debates as totally outrageous, just as how we look at civil rights today and from it impossible to believe it was ever a question.

  2. Never forget this policy's history -- a legacy of the Clinton administration.