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Right-wingers pressure Joe Lieberman to support DOMA

DOMA Repeal

By Adam Bink

Well, you know you’re doing something right when you get the right-wingers’ attention. Hartford Courant:

In response to an effort by gay rights groups to convince Sen. Joseph Lieberman to back repeal of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, opponents of same-sex marriage have launched a campaign of their own.

The Family Institute of Connecticut’s Action committee is targeting Lieberman, who has consistently said he believes same-sex couples married in states where such unions are legal ought to have the same federal rights as heterosexual married couples. But Lieberman also said he views same-sex marriage as something for the states — not the federal government — to decide.

Lieberman is the only member of the Connecticut congressional delegation that has not signed on as a con-sponsor of the DOMA repeal bill. Last month, Freedom to Marry, the Courage Campaign, the ACLU of Connecticut Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders and other gay rights groups, launched an online drive to press Lieberman on the subject.

Now FIC Action is urging its supporters to email or call Lieberman’s office “to counter pressure from pro same-sex ‘marriage’ forces,” the group wrote on its blog.

“Rhetoric aside, Sen. Lieberman has been no friend of social conservatives,” FIC Executive Director Peter Wolfgang writes. “Whether he was upholding the legality of partial-birth abortion or forcing the military to approve of homosexual activity, Connecticut’s retiring U.S. Senator has consistently opposed traditional values. But he has the opportunity to make one parting gesture for the pro-family cause.

“Ask Sen. Lieberman to take this one last opportunity to support the traditional values that always had his voice but never his vote,” Wolfgang concludes.

Lieberman opposes the portion of the DOMA legislation that defines marriage as between one man and one woman. “He believes it is unfair to deny federal benefits that married people are entitled to under federal law to same-sex couples who are residents of states like Connecticut in which same-sex marriages are legal,” his spokeswoman, Whitney Phillips, said in an email.

But the controversial policy also stipulates that no state is required to recognize a same-sex union performed in a state where such marriages are recognized and it is that aspect of the DOMA that Lieberman supports, Phillips said last month.

We at Courage Campaign along with GLAD, the ACLU of Connecticut and Freedom to Marry aren’t letting up. If you haven’t signed our open letter to Sen. Lieberman, now’s the time. We’re delivering signatures in the next week and meeting with his staff. Sign here.


  • 1. Fr. Bill  |  December 1, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    The constitutional law folk can correct me here, but I believe Section 3 of DOMA (which Sen. Lieberman supports) is actually redundant. Repealing DOMA would as far as States recognizing same gender marriages of other States would simply restore this issue to the status quo ante – That being the well developed law on State recognition of marriages and divorces of other States.

  • 2. Alan_Eckert  |  December 1, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    §3 is not redundant. Without it, we gain access to many key benefits from the federal level.

  • 3. be4marriage  |  December 1, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    Section 3 of DOMA defines marriage and spouse for purpose under federal law. I think you are referring to section 2, which allows states to ignore the marriages of same sex couples that are valid in another state. I assume Lieberman supports the rights of states to ignore same sex marriages that are valid in other states and therefore he likely wants to keep section 2.

    Generally, states accept marriages from other states under the Full Faith and Credit Clause of the United States Constitution. Section 2 of DOMA specifically exempts the states from having to recognize the marriages of same sex couples from other states. If it did not exist, the Constitution would apply.

    I don't know why there hasn't been a more concerted effort to challenge section 2 in the courts other than politics. It mentions same sex couples by name and specifically tries to exempt them, and only them, from the Constitutional protections that would normally be applied.

  • 4. Ann S.  |  December 1, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    I would agree with you if you were speaking of Section 2, and possibly that is what you meant.

  • 5. bjasonecf  |  December 1, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    UPDATE: Mass. DOMA Cases (Appeals) –

    USA's reply brief filed

    BLAG's reply brief is also due today. We'll post it as soon as we get it.

  • 6. Joe  |  December 1, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    DOMA categorically denies same sex married couples ANY of the same federal rights and responsibilities as opposite sex married couples. For this reason alone it is discrimination.

  • 7. Ronnie  |  December 1, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    Oh reich-wingers….yawns & rolls eyes…. 8 O

    Awesome Adam &Courage Campaign. Keep up the pro-family (as in ALL families) cause, traditional American values (as in Freedom, Unity, &Equality) advocacy, the respect &support for ALL of our troops, &the Marriage Equality movement to take down the hateful, anti-American, unconstitutional, intrusive Destruction of Marriage Act (DOMA). Keep up the good work Courage Campaign… subscribing & sharing……

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  • 8. Fr. Bill  |  December 1, 2011 at 3:10 pm

    Yes I was referring to section 2. While most marriages are recognized under the full faith and credit provison of the US Costitution, I believe therfe are cases the hold they can deny recognition for strong pubic policy reasons. There were a lot of cases invilving recognizing out of state divorces as well as some mariages (consanguinity for example).

  • 9. Ann S.  |  December 1, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    I agree with you about Section 2.

  • 10. Be4marriage  |  December 1, 2011 at 3:32 pm

    I think you would be hard pressed to find a state that didn't recognize another state's marriages for ANY straight people in the last couple of decades. Even those states that have prohibitions on consanguinity usually have exemptions that allow judges to review the case. Who marries their cousins anymore anyway?

  • 11. Steve  |  December 1, 2011 at 5:50 pm

    There is a public policy exception to the Full Faith and Credit Clause. Which was used to deny the recognition of interracial marriages. It was precisely for that reason that Loving v Virginia got started. They married out-of-state, but then moved

  • 12. be4marriage  |  December 2, 2011 at 9:51 am

    There isn't a public policy exemption to the Full Faith and Credit Clause. It could be said that the Supreme Court has been reluctant to enforce the Full Faith and Credit Clause in matters of public policy, but there is no written exemption either in the Full Faith and Credit Clause itself or in the federal laws that support it that allow states to ignore the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of another state if they are "public policy" related. In fact, any such exemption turns the full faith and credit clause on it's head. There is not Full Faith and Credit for anything at all if one can point to something as broad as "public policy" as an acceptable exemption.

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