Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Kicking a Support from DOMA

U.S. Rep. Jerry Nadler, a New York Dem, undermined the Defense of Marriage Act with his Respect for Marriage bill today. He figures progressives and civil-rights types can't dump DOMA immediately, but they can remove its pillars one at a time.

His bill
would give federal recognition to legal same-sex marriages. It would not do the same for domestic partnerships or civil unions. It would replace the one-man/one-woman definition of marriage with:
§ 7. Marriage
(a) For the purposes of any Federal law in which
marital status is a factor, an individual shall be considered
married if that individual’s marriage is valid in the State
where the marriage was entered into or, in the case of
a marriage entered into outside any State, if the marriage
is valid in the place where entered into and the marriage
could have been entered into in a State.
(b) In this section, the term ‘State’ means a State,
the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto
Rico, or any other territory or possession of the United
Among the wee surprises at Nadler's announcement were that President Obama did not attend and that openly gay Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank is not among the 90 co-sponsors. The Blade reports:

Frank said in an interview Friday with the Blade that he’s not a co-sponsor of the legislation because he has a “strategic difference” with those supporting the repeal legislation.

“It’s not anything that’s achievable in the near term,” he said. “I think getting [the Employment Non-Discrimination Act], a repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ and full domestic partner benefits for federal employees will take up all of what we can do and maybe more in this Congress.”

Frank also said that advocacy for the “certainty provision,” as described by Nadler, would create “political problems” in Congress.

From first glance, it appears more like a case of NIH, not invented here by Frank. To me, this is a further shame to DOMA that Congress would have to pass a law reminding states that comity is the norm in our nation. Bay Windows has more analysis on Frank's objections here.

Nadler said he expects scare tactics by those opposed to DOMA's repeal, including claims that this will force SSM on states with their own mini-DOMA laws or amendments or both.

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