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BREAKING: Sen. Judiciary Committee votes to repeal DOMA

DOMA Repeal

By Adam Bink

Just now, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 10-8 to repeal DOMA by passing the Respect for Marriage Act, without amendments (Sen. Grassley decided to withdraw all the amendments he had circulated, noting that it was apparent he didn’t have the votes). A huge step forward for our movement to repeal DOMA!

Today’s victory will make headlines and help educate the public on what DOMA is and why it needs to go. We know when we tell stories, we win as a movement. Today’s victory will also add momentum and help bring more Senators on board so when we have a pro-repeal leadership in the House, Senate and White House, we can move forward as quickly as possible to repeal DOMA, instead of starting from scratch.

Thanks to all of you who made calls, signed petitions, and chipped in to make today possible. It wasn’t so long that I sat in front of Sen. Feinstein to take this video:

It wasn’t long that we noted on this blog how Sen. Klobuchar and Sen. Kohl would make a majority in committee, so we went after them with our allies and both Klobuchar and Kohl got on board. And it was a lift to get to this summer’s hearing and today’s vote. We all did it together — people in each state who contacted their Senator, folks like you who spread the word and chipped in.

Below is a statement from Courage Campaign’s Rick Jacobs:

For the first time in history, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to make gays and lesbians whole people,” said Rick Jacobs, the chair and founder of the Courage Campaign, an online, grassroots political organization with more than 750,000 members around the country. “This truly historic vote today should never have been necessary because this absurd law should never have been on the books. Thanks to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, we have a bill that can move to the Senate floor where fair-minded people who believe in a nation united, not divided, can end federal discrimination against gay and lesbian couples legally married in six states and the District of Columbia. Sadly, the Republicans think this is a partisan issue, but then some thought the same about the other great civil rights issues of this nation. Eventually, America is just.”


  • 1. Catherine E. Bell  |  November 10, 2011 at 8:49 am

    This is fantastic news! It would be better if the margin had been bigger, and there is still a fight ahead, but it's a great and substantial step towards equality. Definitely worth celebrating with a cup of very good coffee over a game plan.

  • 2. José Merentes  |  November 10, 2011 at 8:50 am

    it´s only the first step.

  • 3. Gregory in SLC  |  November 10, 2011 at 8:58 am

    One of MANY steps… re-watch this the other day…grateful to all who have/do/will work for equality:
    Before Stonewall

  • 4. Ann S.  |  November 10, 2011 at 9:08 am


  • 5. David Cox  |  November 10, 2011 at 9:09 am

    Since when is America "just"? Ha! What a lie! Look at America's history with minorities: women, Native peoples, blacks, Latinos, Asians. Any and every minority on the North American continent has has its rights quashed! Today's situation is better for some minorities but remains miserable for others. And it ain't over yet! Example: the GOP continues to write blatant discrimination in its party platform. Google it! Add "GOP platform" to any state name. Look inside the document for key words like land, marriage, native, voter.

  • 6. AnonyGrl  |  November 10, 2011 at 9:09 am

    "Eventually, America is just."

    Hope and despair and waiting and pushing forward and temporary losses and long term wins rolled into one phrase. Nicely said, Rick.

  • 7. Ronnie  |  November 10, 2011 at 9:16 am

    Most excellent…..Thank you to those who voted "Yay", your names will be praised as heros for the rest of eternity & to those who voted "nay", your names will be amongst the rest of the stains on the wrong side of history……This deserves a celebration song…. Brian Kent's "Su-Su-Su-Superstar"…… <3…Ronnie:

    [youtube 6sZlwT6dxw8 youtube]

  • 8. Gregory in SLC  |  November 10, 2011 at 9:20 am

    Nicely said anony!
    Hope and despair and waiting and pushing forward and temporary losses and long term wins rolled into one phrase.

  • 9. MJFargo  |  November 10, 2011 at 9:35 am

    THANK YOU, ADAM!!!! (…and everyone else!)

  • 10. Pat  |  November 10, 2011 at 9:36 am

    "Eventually". It's right there in the quote. Eventually, legally-enforced prejudices are stomped out.
    And actually, women aren't a minority (well, I guess if you count girls as separate from women, but then there's no majority and everybody is a minority); men are. So no, not *every* minority has had its rights squashed.

  • 11. Adam Bink  |  November 10, 2011 at 9:50 am

    Pleasure. Back at y'all!

  • 12. James A. Tuttle  |  November 10, 2011 at 10:03 am

    This is an excellent step forward for our community!!!! I also just happened to remember that the 90 day limit for a ruling is quickly approaching for the Ca Supreme Court to issue a ruling on standing. It could be any day now!!!! While I feel they are going to grant standing to proponents I'm excited for the merits of the trial to be decided on by the 9th circuit!!!! Do I have that right? If proponents are granted standing then the 9th will rule on the merits without another trial? Or will there be another interim trial??? In any case, were coming up fast guys and gals!!!

  • 13. DaveP  |  November 10, 2011 at 10:19 am

    Yup, the momentum continues to build……….

    ….. and looking forward to seeing some of our P8TTers at the courthouse in SF soon!

  • 14. Ann S.  |  November 10, 2011 at 10:33 am

    The CA Supreme Court will opine whether the Proponents do or do not have standing under state law, and then the 9th Circuit still has to issue their ruling on whether the Proponents have standing under federal law (a separate but related question), and if they have standing they will rule on the merits.

    In any case there should not be another trial.

  • 15. Ronnie  |  November 10, 2011 at 11:29 am

    David Testo, American pro soccer player, comes out as gay, regrets not doing it earlier:

    "I’m gay, I’m gay. I did not choose. It’s just part of who I am. And it has nothing to do with the talent of a soccer player. You can be both an excellent soccer player and being gay. … I really regret not having said publicly earlier. I fought with it all my life, my whole career. Living the life of a professional athlete and being gay is incredibly difficult. It is like wearing a secret in his bags but never yourself. It saps all your energy to you, in addition to having to perform, having to play."………

    "It’s made me realize that life is so much greater than just soccer and winning and losing. It’s about the relationships you build with the people around you. In the end, when you’re laying down on your death bed, it’s not about how much money you’ve made, how many wins you have, any of that. You want to know those connections you had to people and the difference you made in people’s lives……And I actually thank being gay for that. Because, hypothetically speaking, I don’t know who I would be if I wasn’t, but I know this has pushed me to grow in such a way I never would have dreamed." ~ David Testo


  • 16. Sheryl_Carver  |  November 10, 2011 at 11:48 am

    Can't the losers appeal the standing &/or the merits ruling to SCOTUS?

  • 17. AnonyGrl  |  November 10, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    Yes, but those are not new trials, just further appeals on the same rulings.

  • 18. Ann S.  |  November 10, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    Yes, but that should not result in another trial. The SCOTUS would hold a hearing and accept briefs, but that is not a trial.

    Perhaps I misunderstood James's question, or am being overly technical (again!) but an appellate hearing is different from a trial.

  • 19. April  |  November 10, 2011 at 1:48 pm

    Actually women ARE a minority. Minorities do not have to be smaller in number to be considered such. Women have an equally disproportionate amount of power and control in the government, workplace, earnings, education, etc. Despite the fact that numerically we are the majority, because of the fact that we have very limited power and resources and are much more likely to be targets of discrimination in society we continue to hold minority status. We are slowly starting to turn the corner (female CEO's are starting to become more numerous, as well as females in government positions of power).

  • 20. Rich  |  November 10, 2011 at 5:38 pm

    "I’m gay, I’m gay. I did not choose. It’s just part of who I am". Yes, Ronnie, this is what it is all about. Thank you to everyone who helped in this great start to a larger victory, today!

  • 21. Susan Russell  |  November 10, 2011 at 5:50 pm

    "It is long past time to overturn the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a shameful piece of legislated discrimination that does nothing to defend marriage and everything to make second-class citizens out of gay and lesbian couples and their families." — Ed Bacon from All Saints in Pasadena in his statement … now up on the HuffPost:

  • 22. Mark M. (Seattle)  |  November 10, 2011 at 8:23 pm

    In unison we take one more step forward……

  • 23. Sheryl_Carver  |  November 10, 2011 at 11:41 pm

    Thanks for clarifying, AnonyGrl & Ann S.

    Obviously, I don't know what James meant, but I interpreted it as encompassing appeals. Until your responses, "appeal" & "trial" were synonymous in my layman's brain. Now I can be more precise.

    At least I had it right about the possibility, or perhaps I should say, certainty, of more appeals. From my perspective, the wheels of justice grind exceedingly slowly.

  • 24. Thark  |  November 11, 2011 at 8:54 pm

    going this far, and with the vote on DOMA, and the success in snuffing out DADT…PLUS the release of the Flop 8 tapes, it is material to mention that the stay on Judge Walker's ruling can also be lifted at anytime, even if the DarkSide attempts to appeal with yet evern more *nothing*…

    How glorious THAT would be, marriage equality restored – through a technical "tehcnicality" as the hobbled Flop 8 hobbles off into whatever sunset awaits this mess of a "law"…

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