April 19, 2011
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.