October 14, 2011
By Adam Bink
Our friends at the Sen. Judiciary Committee report that Chairman Leahy will hold a markup on the Respect for Marriage Act, which would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The Committee will debate and explore amendments to the bill and likely hold a vote.
This is obviously a critical moment for a few big reasons: one, because it could seriously change the substance of the legislation; two, it will help clarify the substance of objections to DOMA repeal and where our strengths and weaknesses lie in terms of arguments and support; three, because it will help generate headlines around the country and educate the public; and obviously, four, because it could add a great deal of momentum to repeal efforts.
Courage Campaign’s statement:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 14, 2011
MEDIA CONTACT: Ana Beatriz Cholo, 312-927-4845, firstname.lastname@example.org
COURAGE CAMPAIGN CHAIR RICK JACOBS ON ANNOUNCED SENATE MARKUP TO REPEAL DEFENSE OF MARRIAGE ACT (DOMA)
Courage Campaign Leads the Grassroots Effort
The following is a statement by Courage Campaign’s Rick Jacobs on today’s announcement by Chairman Patrick Leahy that the Senate Judiciary Committee will convene in November to mark up the Respect for Marriage Act, a bill introduced by Sen. Dianne Feinstein to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act:
“DOMA enshrines second-class citizenship for millions in a first-class nation,” said Rick Jacobs, chair and founder of the Courage Campaign. “We are pleased that at long last the Senate Judiciary Committee will take up the bill to end DOMA. We thank Sens. Leahy and Feinstein for leading with conviction on this bill.”
Gay couples in D.C., New York, and elsewhere now have the right to legally marry. However, same-sex married couples from every state in the U.S. are barred from 1,100 federal rights and privileges afforded to straight married couples. The Respect for Marriage Act, introduced by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California) on March 16 of this year, is a bill that would restore their rights and repeal DOMA. The Courage Campaign, a grassroots organizing network, launched a grassroots effort to support the Respect for Marriage Act.
Since March, Courage Campaign members have used direct contact, petitions and social media to urge seven senators to co-sponsor the Respect for Marriage Act. The Courage Campaign targeted Sens. Klobuchar, Kohl, Udall of New Mexico, Bingaman and Mikulski and asked them to co-sponsor the Respect for Marriage Act, all with success. Sen. Feinstein also held a conference call with Courage Campaign’s DOMA field captains (of which there are 75 in 43 states) earlier this year to thank them for their hard work and discuss next steps in the campaign. Courage Campaign is currently part of state-based coalitions urging Sens. Menendez, Reed and Casey to do the right thing and support DOMA repeal. There are now 30 Senators who publicly sponsor or co-sponsor the Respect for Marriage Act, a record level, and halfway to the 60 that are needed to overcome a filibuster. The full list can be found here.
In July, over 25,000 Courage members petitioned President Obama to formally endorse the Respect for Marriage Act. The day before the historic Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the bill, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney announced the White House’s unprecedented endorsement of the bill, in a rare move usually reserved only for legislation that has passed one house of Congress. This move underscores the urgency with which DOMA must be repealed.
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Courage Campaign is a multi-issue online organizing network that empowers more than 700,000 grassroots and netroots supporters to work for progressive change and full equality in California and across the country. Through a one-of-a-kind online tool called Testimony: Take A Stand, the Courage Campaign is chronicling the sights, sounds and stories of LGBT families and all who wage a daily struggle against discrimination across America. For more information about Testimony, please visit, http://www.couragecampaign.org/Testimony.
Chairman Leahy’s statement:
Leahy Announces Plans To Schedule Committee Consideration
Of DOMA Repeal Bill
WASHINGTON (Oct. 14, 2011) – Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) announced Friday that he intends to schedule Committee consideration of the Respect for Marriage Act, a bill that would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), in November.
“The march for equality continues, and now is the time to ensure equality for gay and lesbian Americans who are lawfully married,” said Leahy, who is a cosponsor of the Respect for Marriage Act. “Next month, I will call up the Respect for Marriage Act for debate and a vote in the Judiciary Committee. The Respect for Marriage Act would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, which prevents thousands of American families from being protected by laws that help secure other American families. This is part of the nation’s continuing fight for civil rights for all Americans.”
In July, Leahy chaired the first-ever congressional hearing on proposals to repeal DOMA. The Obama administration has announced the President’s support for the Respect for Marriage Act.
The Respect for Marriage Act was introduced in March. The Senate bill (S.598) is sponsored Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), and is cosponsored by 29 other Senators. All 10 Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee support the legislation. A House companion bill (H.R.1116) has bipartisan support, including 129 sponsors.
The Senate Judiciary Committee holds regular business meetings to consider pending legislation and nominations. Leahy intends to list the Respect for Marriage Act for consideration during a business meeting in November.
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