It's election season and Congresspeople are getting antsy over the lack of progress on GLBT issues. We have gained a few pieces of our rights but the bigger picture has been ignored in order to placate the conservadems. I received yet another email from OFA today on gay issues - telling us to pass their petition around to more people because Don't Ask Don't Tell "repeal" is in danger of not passing in the Senate unless, apparently, more people see the OFA petition.
Now some representatives are urging swifter action on the bigger promises to the GLBT community - ahead of the election, where Democrats may lose too many seats to pass gay rights legislation. Nadler says:
"Let us move without further delay to repeal DOMA and provide LGBT Americans the rights that are guaranteed to them in the U.S. Constitution,"
Unsurprisingly, he's asking for the President to help lead this effort instead of only encouraging smaller actions. It would make sense for the President to be the one to strongly call for repeal of DOMA and passage of DPBOA because cases the DoJ is handling right now involve both of those. Congress needs to know how to proceed.
I'm glad to see the Defense of Marriage Act being discussed more lately, in the LGBT Pride Month statement and now by Nadler. It was one of those things that disappeared off the radar after the election and I didn't think it was legislatively possible - I'm still not sure it is, but with Congressional Reps calling for it and the President mentioning it in that statement it certainly seems more viable now.
DOMA is one of the things I feel strongly about and always have. Politicians like to tell us that they "believe marriage is between a man and a woman" but they would like to "leave it up to the states." You can't leave it up to the states unless you repeal DOMA. It keeps the federal government from staying neutral and abiding by state decisions on marriage by placing its own restrictions on marriage.
In other words, we are not even at the status quo politicians like to pretend we've reached. We are not even at the point where "leave marriage up to the states" is legally possible. Not to mention DOMA is a clearly unconstitutional, animus-based law. It exists solely to punish gay people. The most recent DoJ defense of it is "it helps us count the states that have gay marriage and the states that don't." That's their excuse for why it is constitutional. The government can't count to fifty.
There's no reason to keep a law on the books that is meant to punish gay people for the sake of punishing us. When President Clinton signed it into law, he said:
I have long opposed governmental recognition of same-gender marriages and this legislation is consistent with that position.
That's the rationale. "I oppose it."
Here's more on the rationale for passing it, from research done by Pam's House Blend:
'The President would sign that bill if it was presented to him as it's currently written,' Mr. McCurry told reporters...'"
"'The President doesn't have objections to the two things the bill does. One, it says that no state is forced to recognize another state's codification of the union. And then the second thing it does is it says that marriage is a union between a single man and a single woman.'"
It was passed to take a basic constitutional right (marriage) away from one set of people just because he didn't want those people to have it. I want to see it repealed now.