November 9, 2011
By Adam Bink
An update for everyone on DOMA repeal in Congress: tomorrow, the Respect for Marriage Act, which repeals DOMA, will be taken up by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The markup begins at 10 AM EST. We have 10 Senators publicly in support of the bill. I’ll be there covering it, so you can find proceedings here at Prop8TrialTracker.com.
The deadline for circulating amendments is today at 5 PM EST, and Republicans are expected to circulate several, if not many, amendments. I’ll have updates later on what is to be filed. For now, we know Sen. Grassley will be circulating an amendment to strike Section 2, which relates to the “certainty” provision, which states that marriages which are legal in the state in which the couple got married will also be recognized in other states for the “purposes of any federal law in which marital status is a factor.” The couple should not lose their federal rights as soon as they step on an airplane or cross a border, and that’s what “certainty” protects. Sen. Grassley’s amendment would strip that out. Sen. Grassley is also expected to file an amendment relating to an organization being denied a federal grant because it will not refer people for contraception or abortion, as well as an amendment regarding political appointees taking action to influence the direction of such a grant. Additional amendments are expected, and we’ll find out about them later today.
Below, Rick Jacobs e-mailed our active members on DOMA to gather signatures on this emergency petition. Any amendments that strip out certainty or otherwise weaken the Respect for Marriage Act cannot be allowed. We need full equality and that means the full Respect for Marriage Act. Any anti-LGBT amendments or “poison pills” relating to other issues like contraception could gut the bill or influence the votes such that we no longer have a majority in support. Please sign here and share with friends. Tomorrow’s vote will make headlines and educate the public, and we need a strong show of support.
More as it comes.
Tomorrow, the Senate Judiciary Committee will vote on the Respect for Marriage Act to repeal DOMA. We have the 10 votes to pass the bill, but Sen. Grassley is circulating amendments today that would take away rights from married same-sex couples. His goal is to either gut the bill or add enough poison pills that would make Senators waver on the bill, and we can’t let that happen.
Among Sen. Grassley’s amendments is one that would strip federal rights from same-sex married couples when they travel from state to state. Courage’s Data Director, Caitlin, just married her fiancée and if this bill passed, they’d have federal rights in one state but not another, so if Caitlin had to move home to care for her mother, she’d lose her federal rights when she steps on the airplane. That’s ridiculous, offensive and unacceptable.
We’ve worked too hard on this bill, starting on March 16th when we stood with Sen. Feinstein to introduce this bill all the way to today, with 31 co-sponsors in the Senate, a record number in the House, and President Obama’s rare formal endorsement. We can’t let a weakened bill pass the Judiciary Committee for two reasons: one, the full Senate will only weaken it further (as they do on all things), and two, we can’t accept less than full equality: we need to organize around the full Respect for Marriage Act, not that bill and half a loaf.
Sign our emergency petition to Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats NOW, urging them to oppose any amendments that would weaken the Respect for Marriage Act. Our own Adam Bink will deliver your signatures prior to the hearing tomorrow, and you can follow along with what happens tomorrow at Courage’s Prop8TrialTracker.com.
Thanks for helping repeal DOMA,
Chair and Founder, Courage Campaign