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DOMA Splits GOP Leadership and Rank-And-File

Jim Burroway

June 26th, 2013

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued this brief statement after the DOMA decision was announced:

Congress passed the Defense of Marriage Act on an overwhelmingly bipartisan basis and President Clinton signed it into law.  The House intervened in this case because the constitutionality of a law should be judged by the Court, not by the president unilaterally.  While I am obviously disappointed in the ruling, it is always critical that we protect our system of checks and balances.  A robust national debate over marriage will continue in the public square, and it is my hope that states will define marriage as the union between one man and one woman

As BTB’s Timothy Kincaid pointed out, many are seeing his statement and others from Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell (R_KY) as a sign that Republican leadership isn’t eager to take up opposition to marriage equality in the nation’s Capital. They can see the tea leaves as well as anyone. Well, almost anyone. One rank and file Congressman looked at Boehner’s statement and saw things differently:

Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.), speaking at a Tuesday meeting between reporters and conservative lawmakers, said he will file a constituional amendment in Congress late this week to restore DOMA. Huelskamp said he will be joined by other conservatives.

“My response to this [decision] will be later this week to file a federal marriage amendment,” he said.

When asked if leadership is likely to support efforts to restore DOMA, Huelskamp said he was encouraged by the Boehner’s statement after the ruling. “I give tremendous credit to the Speaker of House,” Huelskamp said.

Whatever Huelskamp may think he saw in Boehner’s statement, I think it’s safe to say however that DOMA’s revival will be DOA as soon as it hits the House floor.

Meanwhile, Florida Senator and possible 2016 presidential contender Marco Rubio strikes a different tone:

I believe the Supreme Court made a serious mistake today when it overstepped its important, but limited role.  I do not believe that President Clinton and overwhelming bipartisan majorities of both houses of Congress acted with malice or intent to ‘demean’ a class of people when they adopted a uniform definition of marriage for the purposes of federal law.  The Court should not have second guessed the will of the American people acting through their elected representatives without firm constitutional justifications.  The sweeping language of today’s majority opinion is more troubling than the ruling itself as it points to further interference by the Court in the years to come.

For millions of Americans, the definition of marriage is not an abstract political question, or some remote legal debate.  It’s a deeply personal issue. It’s an issue that I have grappled with as well.

I believe that marriage is a unique historical institution best defined as the union between one man and one woman. In the U.S., marriage has traditionally been defined by state law, and I believe each state, acting through their elected representatives or the ballot, should decide their own definition of marriage. For the purposes of federal law, however, Congress had every right to adopt a uniform definition and I regret that the Supreme Court would interfere with that determination.

Comments

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Lindoro Almaviva
June 26th, 2013 | LINK

The Court should not have second guessed the will of the American people acting through their elected representatives without firm constitutional justifications.

Really? He is pulling that now? The more I hear about Rubie the more I dislike him. I have a feeling he will get a reality check pretty soon. he thinks that Latinos will vote with him because he is latino and he is about to see how that is not going to happen.

So now congress is the representative of people, but in california, when the representatives of people passed a law saying the opposite, well, those were not really representing anyone.

Better leave it here before I am put in moderation because of use of profanity.

emcee_cubed
June 26th, 2013 | LINK

Rubio is absolutely right. The definition of marriage is not an abstract issue. It is deeply personal. To millions of Americans. *raises hand* It is not an abstract issue to me. It is deeply personal to me. I want to get married to the man I’ve been together with for over 23 years. The person who is making this some “abstract political issue” is Rubio (and his ilk) who are refusing to acknowledge that we are real people who really want to get married.

Lucrece
June 26th, 2013 | LINK

It’s so lovely for that pondscum to handwave discrimination when it’s not his Cuban parents being subjected to societal abuse as Cubans were on earlier years (rent announcements would clearly specify “No Cubans”, Cuban children would be deemed mentally retarded just because they only spoke Spanish).

And the worse part is he’ll keep getting elected because the Hispanic media never covers his homophobia, let alone any discussions on homophobia when it comes to their shining Latino white knight.

A clean, wholesome, Cuban Republican young gun that the Cubans in Florida will be happy to back in his political aspirations as they backed Romney.

Nathaniel
June 26th, 2013 | LINK

Thank you emcee_cubed, I was thinking the same thing you were, though you said it much better than I could have.

I’m struck by this ‘consistency’ argument. The Fed’s recognition of every legal state marriage seems pretty darn consistent to me. DOMA went out of its way to make things inconsistent: every legal state marriage except…. Yeah, it was a simple sentence, but it was legal nightmare for so many as more and more states got equal marriage. DOMA may have provided consistency for Rubio’s skewed view point, but it certainly didn’t seem that way in practice. Indeed, are there not inconsistencies amongst the marriage laws of the various states? Has the federal government done anything to iron out all these other differences for ‘consistency sake’ at the federal level? I think he would find that the answer is a big, fat ‘NO’.

Now I feel like Lindoro. I could say more, but it would degrade into grumblings about partisan politics while specifying certain parties for particularly rude epitaphs because they want to pretend they aren’t the only organized group of bigots on display.

Guess I did any way. Sorry.

Feloneouscat
June 27th, 2013 | LINK

Rubio remains an idiot. Constitutionally, SCOTUS is equal, not subservient, to Congress. SCOTUS decided on Constitutional basis, not attempting to “read minds”.

Rubio lost nothing. Millions of Americans, however, were freed from being treated as second class citizens.

Rubio doesn’t understand this country, our laws or the Constitution to talk about it.

Please, someone get him a LARGE glass of water.

Lymis
June 27th, 2013 | LINK

Rubio clearly didn’t read what Congress itself wrote into its own record – it was explicitly passed to promote heterosexuality and express a sweeping moral disapproval of homosexuality. In writing. In the record.

I don’t care what he believes – if he believes it he’s an idiot, and if he doesn’t, he’s a liar.

Russ
June 27th, 2013 | LINK

What Congress itself said at the time it passed DOMA: Report of the House Judiciary Committee, July 9, 1996, pp. 15-16, as follows:

“Civil laws that permit only heterosexual marriage reflect and
honor a collective moral judgment about human sexuality. This judgment entails both moral disapproval of homosexuality, and a
moral conviction that heterosexuality better comports with traditional
(especially Judeo-Christian) morality.”

Entire report is at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CRPT-104hrpt664/pdf/CRPT-104hrpt664.pdf

Lord_Byron
June 27th, 2013 | LINK

@Lindoro Almaviva

He is Cuban and they don’t get along very well with other Hispanics because of the preferential treatment that Cubans get over other Latinos. It might have something to do with the fact that Cubans fleeing their country are automatically given the ability to become us citizens after one year while Latinos from other countries feeling bad conditions are required to wait and are prosecuted.

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