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VICTORY: Sen. Kohl agrees to co-sponsor DOMA repeal; votes in hand in Sen. Judiciary Committee

DOMA Repeal

By Adam Bink

Last week, over 1,000 Courage Campaign members wrote to Sen. Kohl, asking him to become the 10th and final Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee to support repeal. Many told Sen. Kohl that their votes for his re-election next year were at stake, as well as personal stories about why DOMA repeal is so important to them. I posted some of their stories in a post here.

Well, we just heard from Sen. Kohl’s office: he will become the 10th and final vote we need on the Senate Judiciary Committee to pass S. 598, the Respect for Marriage Act, out of committee. Off we go!

When we introduced this bill with Sen. Feinstein, we started at 8 votes in the Senate Judiciary Committee and 19 Senators in support overall. Since then we targeted and picked up Sen. Klobuchar (D-MN), the story of which I detailed here.  We then moved onto Sen. Kohl and asked our members to tell him to support DOMA repeal, and why it was so important to them — especially if they voted for, volunteered for, or donated to him in the past. Sen. Kohl just announced his support. We also picked up Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA), bringing us to the 10 we need in committee before the hearings even start, and 22 overall — over one-third of the way to the 60 we need to break a filibuster.

To be sure, some of these are low-hanging fruit, and we still need Republican support to succeed in this multi-year fight, as well as votes in the House. But it is a great start, and will bring momentum and headlines when the Senate Judiciary Committee passes this bill. Headlines in papers like my hometown Buffalo News, where friends and family will learn for the first time what the Defense of Marriage Act is, the damage it does to American families, and why it has to go. And then we have a really big shot in the arm.

We’re moving onto the next set of Senators to bring onboard, and Arisha, our field director, and I are cooking up some, ahem, exciting plans for them. If you support the work we’re doing online and offline, please chip in here to help fund this campaign to get 38 more Senators onboard. And then it’s onto the House. You can also join the over 53,000 people in all 50 states who signed up for updates on the campaign by clicking here, and sign up to be a DOMA volunteer captain in your state here.


Update: I neglected to mention: Sen. Kohl voted for the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996. That he is now onboard to overturn it is a very positive sign, and he can be a good messenger for his colleagues.


  • 1. Ed Cortes  |  April 19, 2011 at 3:06 am

    1st and watchin'

  • 2. Alan E.  |  April 19, 2011 at 3:08 am

    I've said it before, and I'll say it again. A repeal is great for spreading the message that gay=good. I would love to see this repeal go far (although I know it's not possible given the makeup of the House). However, a Supremes win would go a lot further for gay rights in the legal system.

    Plus, and I'm being a little selfish here, but I would stand to gain a lot more personally if I could refile my taxes for the last 3 years (and further). Also, any possible cases against DOMA when it was legal would go in a tailspin. Can the court system declare a repealed law as unconstitutional? If not, then the $300,000+ estate tax in the current case could possibly be seen as legal, and she might have no legal recourse against it.

    I'm just free-writing now. Correct me if I'm wrong please.

  • 3. Alan E.  |  April 19, 2011 at 3:09 am

    BREAKING: "REVEALED: Boehner’s High-Priced Lawyer Is Charging the American Taxpayer $520 Per Hour"

  • 4. Kathleen  |  April 19, 2011 at 3:13 am

  • 5. Ann S.  |  April 19, 2011 at 3:19 am

    I know getting this passed by the Senate (which we hope would happen) will be good publicity and all, as said above.

    But this House is never going to pass this, is it?

    Sorry to be a party-pooper.

  • 6. JPM  |  April 19, 2011 at 3:33 am


    Off to an excellent start!

  • 7. adambink  |  April 19, 2011 at 3:37 am

    "To be sure, some of these are low-hanging fruit, and we still need Republican support to succeed in this multi-year fight, as well as votes in the House."

    This is a long road, and we have to set and reach goals within our grasp to get to the next milestone.

  • 8. Straight for Equalit  |  April 19, 2011 at 3:41 am

  • 9. Don in Texas  |  April 19, 2011 at 3:55 am

    Off topic but of interest:

    Study: Suicide Attempts By Gay, Straight Teens Higher In Poltically Conservative Areas

  • 10. Brittany-Ann  |  April 19, 2011 at 4:31 am

    Question: Has anyone picked out the Senators to lobby for their support? Is there a list somewhere?

  • 11. Jenny  |  April 19, 2011 at 5:12 am

    A little off topic (sorry!), but I got an email from one of my senators, Sherrod Brown, this afternoon announcing his support and co-sponsorship of ENDA. No surprise- he's been consistent and pretty outspoken in his support of LGBT rights but I was happy to see it in writing.

  • 12. Ronnie  |  April 19, 2011 at 5:50 am


  • 13. AnonyGrl  |  April 19, 2011 at 6:06 am

    He is paid BY ME more per hour than I make in a week.

    John Boehner has a LOT to answer for.

  • 14. Sagesse  |  April 19, 2011 at 6:07 am

    One step at a time.

  • 15. Marlene  |  April 19, 2011 at 8:16 am

    I've met Sherrod and his wife a couple of times back when he was campaigning for his seat.

    He's a *real* progressive Democrat, and I wish like hell Jennifer Brunner was in the Senate with him, because she's one too.

  • 16. Mackenzie  |  April 19, 2011 at 10:04 am

    fantabulous news!

  • 17. House Republicans authori&hellip  |  April 19, 2011 at 11:19 am

    […] news comes on the heels of Sen. Kohl’s announcement he will become the 10th and final vote we need on the Senate Judiciary Committee to pass S. 598, […]

  • 18. Rhie  |  April 19, 2011 at 11:59 am

    Repeal NOW!

  • 19. otherfishwrap  |  April 19, 2011 at 9:58 pm

    Anony Grl,
    When you are guilty, or at least in the wrong, the higher priced lawyer you can find, the better. I suppose the immoral minority, the far right and tea party folks, feel that hurting millions of people a little bit is easier than making the majority have to face the truth.
    I would not put it past them to try the, "If the glove don't fit, you have to acquit." defense.
    I can still see compassion from my house but the fog of war is obscuring it a little.
    Tony C. Saladino- Director ECO-Tours of Wisconsin Inc.

  • 20. Petition: Tell Boehner: S&hellip  |  April 20, 2011 at 12:09 am

    […] Sen. Kohl Agrees to Co-Sponsor DOMA Repeal; Votes in Hand in Sen. Judiciary Committee. Read more […]

  • 21. Liz  |  April 20, 2011 at 5:29 am

    I am happy and proud to say that I was one of the people that wrote to the senator to support us. Thanks Senator!

  • 22. Americans Say Let ‘&hellip  |  April 20, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    […] by a long shot, but thanks to you, we’re getting there. This poll helps us repeal DOMA. And the work on repealing DOMA helps improve the next set of public polling results. It’ll be a bumpy ride, but we’re […]

  • 23. Defense of Marriage for A&hellip  |  April 21, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    […] Congress is moving forward with The Respect for Marriage Act to repeal DOMA. Sen. Herb Kohl (WI) has become the tenth and final senator necessary to move S.598 out of the Senate Judiciary […]

  • 24. Prop 8 Trial Tracker &raq&hellip  |  June 8, 2011 at 10:06 am

    […] DOMA Repeal campaign with Sen. Feinstein. These folks successfully brought Sens. Klobuchar, Kohl and Tom Udall onboard through public efforts, and continue to be active in other states working […]

  • 25. Prop 8 Trial Tracker &raq&hellip  |  July 8, 2011 at 5:49 am

    […] also proud that we’ve worked to pick up the last few votes to pass the Respect for Marriage Act in the committee. If there’s a markup, we’ll have […]

  • 26. Prop 8 Trial Tracker &raq&hellip  |  October 25, 2011 at 10:33 am

    […] As first noted here on back in April, we have the 10 votes in hand we need to pass the bill out of committee (all Democrats). However, whatever happens on amendments could change that calculus. […]

  • 27. Prop 8 Trial Tracker &raq&hellip  |  November 3, 2011 at 5:02 am

    […] for Marriage Act, which would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. All 10 committee Democrats publicly pledge support for the bill, though it’s not clear what amendments will be offered and whether that calculus could be […]

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