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Courage Campaign members call on Sen. Reed to co-sponsor Respect for Marriage Act

DOMA Repeal

By Adam Bink

Today, Courage Campaign members in Rhode Island are asking Sen. Reed to become the 31st Senator to co-sponsor the Respect for Marriage Act. He is currently the only member of the RI congressional delegation to not do so. We’re joining with Ocean State Action, Marriage Equality Rhode Island and Freedom to Marry in penning a letter to Sen. Reed, which you can find at the bottom of this page.

Local press coverage of our efforts can be found here, here and here, and it’s spreading. This morning, Sen. Reed held a transportation-related press conference, and word is that the first question was about…DOMA. He said he’ll make a decision “very shortly.”

Below, you can find an e-mail to members in Rhode Island from Beth and Elizabeth, a couple of 26 years, married in Massachusetts and living in North  Smithfield, RI. They tell their story about how every year they burn up $7,000 because of DOMA. Beth and Elizabeth also took the time to travel to Washington, DC for a press conference we held the day before the Sen. Judiciary Committee hearing on the Respect for Marriage Act.

Please sign and share with your friends, family and colleagues in Rhode Island. Sen. Reed has been a supporter of LGBT equality, and it’s time he joined the rest of the delegation in taking a stand for his constituents who are suffering discrimination like Beth and Elizabeth.

Courage Campaign

Dear Adam,

What if you had to take $635 each month and light it on fire? That’s what we have to do. Why? Because we’re a loving, committed couple of 26 years, who happen to be lesbians. You see, we married in Massachusetts in 2004, and because one of us is a federal employee, we’d normally be eligible to add a spouse onto our health insurance plan. But because of the Defense of Marriage Act, we’re treated as strangers — and so one of us has to purchase an individual health insurance policy for $635 a month. DOMA costs us over $7,000 a year…money that could be better spent elsewhere, like saving for retirement. 

Fortunately, your Senator and ours, Sheldon Whitehouse, is one of 30 Senators who, along with President Obama, support legislation to repeal this horrible law. You’d think you’d find Sen. Reed on that list. You’d be wrong. How is this possible?

Click here to tell Sen. Reed: treat same-sex couples equally, support the Respect for Marriage Act to repeal DOMA!

Sen. Reed, there are many other couples like us in Rhode Island. We pay our taxes, work hard and support each other in sickness and in health. But DOMA treats us differently than other married couples, and that’s discrimination. Are you going to let that happen to your constituents?

Rhode Island recently passed a civil unions law. It states that any same-sex couple who had a civil union in another state would be recognized as civilly united here. However, those of us who are legally married would have to have a civil union in order to make sure we are treated as a couple in Rhode Island. Because of DOMA, our legal marriage has less value in Rhode Island than a civil union. How unfair is that?

Click here to sign a letter to Sen. Reed from Courage Campaign and their friends at Ocean State Action, Marriage Equality Rhode Island and Freedom to Marry. We’ll deliver your signatures personally.

Thanks for helping us and other Rhode Island couples gain a little more respect,

Beth Vorro and Elizabeth Coderre

North Smithfield, RI


  • 1. jpmassar  |  September 28, 2011 at 11:59 am


  • 2. jpmassar  |  September 28, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    Now that DADT is finished and stories are coming to light of married same-sex servicemembers and their woes, do you think it will be possible to bring some other Senators on board with a strong military background? Say, Webb? Seems like it would be strange for him to want to deny equal rights to all servicemembers.

  • 3. Sagesse  |  September 28, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    40 year old Mormon commits suicide

  • 4. Gregory in SLC  |  September 28, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    oh Damn : (
    btw – I noticed this occurred in North Carolina………

  • 5. Gregory in SLC  |  September 28, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    Response To Bryan Egnew’s Suicide

  • 6. Ray in MA  |  September 28, 2011 at 6:45 pm

    I thank GOD that I found Atheism and I can have a Faith (in myself) in order to survive this cruel world.

  • 7. Sagesse  |  September 28, 2011 at 4:54 pm

    Ethical questions remain over federal funds received by Iowa FRC affiliate

  • 8. FlexSF  |  September 28, 2011 at 10:22 pm

    Why doesn't the DOJ, or the state AG, scrutinize these lying, Christian con-artists? They get away with everything! WTF?

  • 9. Kathleen  |  September 28, 2011 at 10:52 pm

    UPDATE: LCR v. USA (DADT case)

    LCR response to USA suggestion of mootness and motion to vacate district court judgment:

  • 10. Bill S.  |  September 29, 2011 at 1:02 am

    That looks like the government's filing that the case is moot.

    I wonder how this will play out. Normally you cannot sue the United States or a State without its consent; you must sue an *agent* of the government for acting outside of his or her official capacity. This means that you can only be granted prospective, and not retrospective relief. So normally this would mean that any of the benefits and seniority soldiers lost from being discharged under DADT (and could not regain merely by re-enlisting) could not be granted by a court. They can only mandate that *future* action by the government is in line with the Constitution.

    However, because this case is the Log Cabin Republicans v. THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, the United States must have at some point voluntarily waived its right to not be sued (known as "sovereign immunity). So I wonder if retrospective relief could also be granted in this case. Any lawyers out there know?

  • 11. Brain Death  |  October 1, 2011 at 10:35 am

    The voluntary waiver was by statute, I believe. (The case was filed during the Bush administration, and it would have not waived sovereign immunity then if it was due to executive discretion.) Unless the statute waiving immunity was repealed, one could still due to retrospective relief such as back pay.

  • 12. MichGuy  |  September 29, 2011 at 7:17 am

    Kathleen, I think you posted the wrong link to the mootness reply. The link you posted was actually the governments suggestion for mootness. I think you meant to post a link about LCR's reply to the Governments mootness suggestion but you may have pasted the wrong link!

  • 13. Kathleen  |  September 29, 2011 at 8:29 am

    Sorry about that everyone. Here's the correct link:

  • 14. Sagesse  |  September 29, 2011 at 5:23 am

    Revised census data

    Top Ten States for Same-Sex Couples

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