Obama: Marriage Benefits Should Cross State Lines
June 27th, 2013
One of the unsettled questions in light of yesterday’s DOMA ruling is whether a same-sex couple living in Pennsylvania (where there is no marriage equality in state law) but married in New York (where there is) is entitled to federal recognition of their marriage. President Barack Obama, speaking while on tour in Africa, has White House lawyers looking into the issue:
He says as president, he believes federal benefits should be granted to couples married in a state that recognizes gay marriage even if they move to a state that doesn’t.
Obama says he asked his lawyers to start evaluating how to update federal statutes to grant gay couples federal benefits even before the high court ruled.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) introduced the Respect for Marriage Act in their respective chambers yesterday, which would repeal the remaining provision of DOMA that allows states to ignore lawful same-sex marriages performed in other states. It would also explicitly clarify the question of whether Federal recognition of a marriage is dependent on the couple’s residency. While the measure enjoys bipartisan support, no movement is expected in the GOP-controlled House.
Dem Reps. Cheer Marriage Decisions
June 26th, 2013
A paraphrase of what they said:
Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA): Oh happy day! Justice was done for thousands of LGBT families nationwide. Forty-four years after Stonewall. Supreme Court bent the arc of history toward justice. Equal protection is a promise kept. More work to be done. Applauds the inspiration of Harvey Milk, the courage of Edie Windsor.
Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD): Principles of equal justice under law. Maryland and other states wanted full marriage equality. Now they get it. A good day for every American. Fifty years ago, one of my first votes as state Senator was to repeal the miscegenation law in Maryland. Another step for equality, justice, inclusion.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY): History of the U.S. can be read as an expanding of “all men are created equal.” Today is another step in that evolution. Breathes life into constitution’s promise of equal liberty for all. DOMA embodied contempt and animus. Work is not done. DOMA in its entirety must be wiped from the books. Reintroduction of Respect for Marriage Act later today.
Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO): Was on the steps of the Supreme Court when decision was handed down. Not a single anti-equality protester. This is the system working for families like mine. Americans are more than ready for this decision. Battle is far from done. People can still be fired, kids face bullying. Congress still has a critical role.
Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI): Applauds the simplicity of the court’s analysis and power of the decision. DOMA was designed to stigmatize and harm LGBT people. Decision helps to transform the lives of thousands of families. Gives meaning to our values.
Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY): Called partner, Randy, of 21 years. Couldn’t get the words out. For families like mine, when I get the kids ready for school, etc., they aren’t growing up in a family that is less than someone else’s. (Holding back tears.) Brown v. Board of Ed., Loving v. Virginia, Lawrence v. Texas, and now we are even more American.
Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI): 93 million people live in states with marriage equality. WE still face barriers. Make sure every single loving, committed relatinship can be recognized.
Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA): I challenge every California clerk to start issuing marriage licenses to every couple that desires one. “I feel jubilation, I feel fabulous, I feel every gay word I can think of.” Kennedy wrote beautiful sentences and reached for the poetic. Stirring words: DOMA humiliates the children of same-sex couples.
Ninety US Congress Reps Denounce Uganda’s Anti-Gay Bill
January 21st, 2010
Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) issued a press release announcing that more than ninety colleagues in the House of Representatives, including Barny Frank (D-MA) and Jared Polis (D-CO), have sent separate letters to President Barack Obama (PDF: 2 MB/6 pages) and Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni (PDF: 5 pages/1.7 MB ) calling the proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill “the most extreme and hateful attempt by an African country to criminalize their LGBT community.” According to the press release:
In the letters, the Members of Congress call the Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Act of 2009 “the most extreme and hateful attempt by an African country to criminalize their LGBT community.” The Members asked President Obama to use his “personal leadership, and that of our country, in seeking to deter these legislative proposals,” and warned President Museveni that, “Should the bill be passed, any range of bilateral programs important to relations between our countries and, indeed, to the Ugandan people inevitably would be called under review.”
Rep. Baldwin called the proposed legislation “an appalling violation of human rights,” and calls on President Obama to “use the full force of his office to oppose this hateful and life-threatening legislation.” Rep. Polis said, “This is nothing more than the institutionalization of hatred and bigotry and it must be stopped,” while calling on Obama and Museveni “to do everything in their powers to prevent it from becoming law.”
Rep. Frank said, “Having accepted debt relief from the international community only a few years ago, Uganda has an obligation to show some respect for basic human rights. He also warned that “Vicious unleashing of persecution of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people should and will be an obstacle to any future Congressional initiative to provide aid to that country.”
DOMA Repeal Step One: Introduction
September 15th, 2009
A collection of political leaders, led by Rep. Nadler, who truly wish to see marriage discrimination removed from federal law, have taken the first step towards marriage equality. (NYT blog)
Representatives Jerrold Nadler, Tammy Baldwin and Jared Polis appeared along with same-sex marriage advocates at a Tuesday morning news conference to announce the introduction of the bill, called the Respect for Marriage Act.
The bill already has roughly 90 cosponsors, though at least one name is conspicuously absent from that list: Representative Barney Frank, the openly gay Massachusetts Democrat. Speaker Nancy Pelosi also indicated earlier this year that repealing the law would not be a top priority.
The next step will be trying to encourage those who are reluctant to move forward on equality – or for tying their political careers to things that matter to our community – to consider equality as a principled goal.
This bill is not expected to pass this Congress. But it does let us know who is really committed when they tell us that they support equality for gay couples. There are now 90 congresspersons whom I’m now willing to listen to … and a few notable ones for whom I find that I have other causes that “will take up all of what I can do and maybe more” and perhaps they should seek a “better venue” elsewhere.
p.s. the bill does not yet seem to have caught the attention of the President. But I am absolutely certain that he will support this bill every bit as much as he has used his bully pulpit and influence with Congress to support other promises he made to our community during his campaign.
Bill To Repeal DOMA Coming Next Week
September 10th, 2009
The Advocate is reporting that Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) will introduce legislation next Tuesday to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. According to reporter Kerry Eleveld, the bill has just over fifty cosponsors. The bill’s introduction is slated to be announced during a press conference on September 15 at 11 a.m. EST.