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View Diary: Bill Clinton, signer of DOMA, says it's 'incompatible with our Constitution' (127 comments)

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  •  The first one was introduced in Congress in 2002 (2+ / 0-)
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    CajunBoyLgb, Jay C

    as reported here:

    Groups opposing the measure call it "bigoted," and say it targets gay and lesbian couples for discrimination. Opponents also claim that the amendment is being used as a political weapon during a mid-term election cycle that otherwise has few distinctions to it. They vow to fight it.

    "This amendment is the legal equivalent of the nuclear bomb," said Chris Anders of the American Civil Liberties Union. "It would wipe out every last protection there is for gay and lesbian families and other unmarried couples."

    "The U.S. Constitution is a revered document and it should not be used for cynical election-year posturing," said David Smith, communications director of the Human Rights Campaign.

    Why not 6-7 years earlier?  Because DOMA passed and that took the wind out of the sails of any such efforts, which were thought to be unnecessary.

    Yes, this did arise over the Full Faith & Credit concerns after the initial Hawaii Court decision -- which GLBT groups celebrated at the time for the possibility that it would impose the obligation on all states to accept same-sex marriage outright.  This was so far out ahead of public opinion that it was shut down very quickly by Democrats, because of the concerns about both the 1996 election (remember, this came just after the 1994 slaughter) and the prospect of a constitutional amendment.  (For historical perspective, Ellen DeGeneres did not come out on TV until 1997.)

    I know this because I remember the prospect of such an amendment being discussed in Democratic circles at the time.  (If anyone has free NEXUS access out there, perhaps they can search for stories in the period between the Hawaii decision and the enactment of DOMA.)

    Here's a 1989 NYT story that I think is worth reviewing.  Note FRC's Gary Bauer's declaration therein:

    In the meantime, opponents of homosexual marriage are preparing for a fight. ''We do see this as a major battleground in the 1990's,'' said Gary L. Bauer, who was President Reagan's domestic affairs adviser and who now heads the Family Research Council in Washington. Same-sex marriage ''would undermine deeply held and broadly accepted ideas of normalcy,'' Mr. Bauer said. ''We have customs against such things because it has been the consensus of 2,000 years of Western civilization that such arrangements were to be discouraged.''
    Logically, given this, what do you think are the odds that the next 6-1/2 years (preceding Bob Barr's introducing DOMA in May 1996) no one among the conservative opposition broached the idea of an amendment to preclude same-sex marriage?  That oversight would be uncharacteristically unopportunistic of them, wouldn't you think?

    Plaintiffs' Employment Law Attorney (harassment, discrimination, retaliation, whistleblowing, wage & hour, &c.) in North Orange County, CA.

    "I love this goddamn country, and we're going to take it back."
    -- Saul Alinsky

    by Seneca Doane on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 10:14:01 AM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  The Class of 1994 (1+ / 0-)
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      CajunBoyLgb

      Why didn't any of them introduce an amendment, just for show? And those people were nuts.

      I'm not going to dispute that DOMA may have deflated the need for an FMA, but that's not the same as arguing that Democrats back in 1996 foresaw that this would take place, and that it motivated them to support DOMA.  (Especially when it would have passed without many of them anyway.)

      •  They didn't because there was no need to do so (0+ / 0-)

        As you note, the Hawaii decision went away.  DOMA passed.  Do you think that, had DOMA failed, no one would have had the bright idea of introducing a Constitutional Amendment to get past the recalcitrant Congress?  Even Louie Gohmert would have been smart enough to do that.

        DOMA was intended to settle the issue with legislation.  I absolutely do remember "... and live to fight another day" discussions at the time -- and it didn't take a genius to know what the potential downside was if it failed.

        Plaintiffs' Employment Law Attorney (harassment, discrimination, retaliation, whistleblowing, wage & hour, &c.) in North Orange County, CA.

        "I love this goddamn country, and we're going to take it back."
        -- Saul Alinsky

        by Seneca Doane on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 10:31:46 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Only 15 Senators voted no, by the way: (1+ / 0-)
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        skrekk

        Akaka (D-HI), Boxer (D-CA), Feingold (D-WI), Feinstein (D-CA), Inouye (D-HI), Kennedy (D-MA), Kerrey (D-NE), Kerry (D-MA), Moseley-Braun (D-IL), Moynihan (D-NY), Pell (D-RI), Robb (D-VA), Simon (D-IL), Wyden (D-OR)

        Still Clinton's shameful fault?

        In the House only 66 Dems and 1 (out and gay) Republican voted no, overwhelmingly from California, New York, Massachusetts and a few urban districts -- essentially, one where a "yes" vote would have caused political trouble:

        Abercrombie, Ackerman, Becerra, Beilenson, Berman, Brown (CA), Brown (OH), Collins (MI), Conyers, Coyne, DeFazio, Dellums, Dixon, Engel, Eshoo, Farr, Fattah, Foglietta, Frank (MA), Gejdenson, Gunderson, Gutierrez, Harman, Hastings (FL), Hinchey, Jackson (IL), Kennedy (MA), Kennedy (RI), Lantos, Lewis (GA), Lofgren, Maloney, Markey, Martinez, Matsui, McDermott, McKinney, Meek, Millender-McDonald, Miller (CA), Mink, Moran, Nadler, Olver, Pallone, Payne (NJ), Pelosi, Rangel, Rivers, Roybal-Allard, Sabo, Sanders, Schroeder, Scott, Serrano, Skaggs, Slaughter, Stark, Stokes, Studds, Torres, Towns, Velazquez, Waters, Waxman, Williams, Woolsey
        Clinton could have vetoed it and let it be overridden, though.  That would have helped a lot.  Bob Dole was no doubt rooting for that to happen.

        Plaintiffs' Employment Law Attorney (harassment, discrimination, retaliation, whistleblowing, wage & hour, &c.) in North Orange County, CA.

        "I love this goddamn country, and we're going to take it back."
        -- Saul Alinsky

        by Seneca Doane on Fri Mar 08, 2013 at 10:42:40 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

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