Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Obama Supports Repeal Of DOMA, Hearings Begin Today

During my time off yesterday, the President made big news by stating his support for the Respect for Marriage Act, a proposed piece of legislation that would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act entirely.  The Congressional hearings are ongoing at the time of this writing (click here to go to ThinkProgress and watch the statements).

From Pam's House Blend:

"This would repeal ALL of DOMA:

* The federal definition of marriage as a union between a man and a woman;
* The section that allows states not to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states;
* The federal government prohibition from recognizing legally performed same-sex marriages."

The author of the bill, Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) had this to say:

"I am thrilled by President Obama's endorsement today of the Respect for Marriage Act, legislation which I introduced in order to repeal the discriminatory and cruel Defense of Marriage Act once and for all. "The President's unprecedented decision to support this timely legislation sends a powerful message to Members of Congress and to the American people that now is the moment to dispense with DOMA and remove this ugly blight from our legal code. The President has consistently supported repeal of DOMA and, with today's announcement, in advance of tomorrow's landmark Senate hearing, he has taken yet another step to make this a reality. On the heels of New York's advancement of marriage equality last month, the Respect for Marriage Act is more necessary than ever to ensure that all legally married couples are treated the same - and granted the same recognition - by the federal government."

Many, like Nadler, are lauding the President's support for the Act as historic, as the White House rarely comments on bills before they hit the floor for debate and voting.  

Some aren't so happy, however, criticizing the President's support as poor timing and bemoaning the chances of the bill actually passing, with famed activist Robin McGehee taking to Twitter to sarcastically thank Obama:

In related news, my online action with Dan Choi criticizing HRC for taking up space in the hearings that would better be given to people of color or bi-national couples got coverage on the Washington Blade and Towleroad, with Christopher Edwards of Immigration Equality responding to the petition I created:

"Christopher Edwards, spokesperson for Immigration Equality, said Leahy is a 'huge champion' of UAFA and bi-national families and maintained Immigration Equality has 'a very positive relationship with him and his office.'

"'There are a large number of issues related to DOMA that not all of them could be or should be represented,' Edwards said. 'We at Immigration Equality are fully supportive of the witness list for the hearing, and we know our couples and families will benefit from the hearing and the testimony of the witnesses chosen.'"

I would say your "positive relationship" isn't taking your cause very far if you can't even arrange to have a single black person testify for marriage equality.  I don't care about your positive relationship, I care about making an effective impact and getting this bill passed.

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