Obama Supports Respect for Marriage Act to Repeal DOMA, Make Gay People Happy

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, AP Photo

Today Senators Dianne Feinstein, Patrick Leahy and Kristen Gillibrand introduced the “Respect for Marriage Act,” which aims to repeal all three sections of the Defense of Marriage Act, otherwise known as “DOMA.” As you’re aware, DOMA strictly defines marriage as being between a man and a woman. Feinstein, a California democrat, was one of 14 Senators who opposed the legislation when it was first introduced in 1996.

You can read the entire Respect for Marriage Act bill here.

Guess who’s endorsing this bill? Barack F*cking Obama, that’s who. White House spokesman Shin Inouye:

“The president has long called for a legislative repeal of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, which continues to have a real impact on the lives of real people – our families, friends and neighbors.”

White House press secretary Jay Carney:

“Obama is proud to support the Respect for Marriage Act.”

For a look at “how far we’ve come,” here’s what our BFF Slick Willie Clinton said about gay marriage in 1996:

“I remain opposed to same-sex marriage. I believe marriage is an institution for the union of a man and a woman. This has been my long-standing position, and it is not being reviewed or reconsidered.”

Clinton has obviously since reviewed and reconsidered his position.

Many wish that Obama would take the next step and actually endorse marriage equality instead of “leaving it up to the states” — but as public opinion tips in our favor, it’s possible state-by-state legislation might be a very realistic means to our collective ends. It’s also worth noting that a bulk of Obama’s campaign funds are coming out of California this year, and more specifically The Bay Area, which is the gayest place on earth.

The Senate Committee Hearing takes place tomorrow and will include testimonies from same-sex couples. The bill has 27 co-sponsors and none of those sponsors are Republicans.

Feinstein says that if they don’t succeed this session then they’ll try again next session. For more about the Obama Administration’s relationship to DOMA, read this.

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Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

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  1. How did this happen?

    Like seriously, I’m sure about six months ago it seemed like this fight might not be won for decades. I do understand. It is magic.

    • I’d guess it started with the DOJ deciding not to defend DOMA in the Second Circuit. When they made that decision and the earth / “independent” voting base didn’t spontaneously self-destruct, it became easier for the White House to edge towards supporting full DOMA repeal. Oh campaign years… 2012 is going to be a ball of laughs. And possibly terrible.

  2. Sorry to be a Deb but why wasn’t this proposed when the Democrats had the majority in the House of Representatives last year? Proposing a bill you know won’t pass fells like they’re just giving us crumbs and trying to get us to open our wallets since election season is upon us… I’m not impressed.

    • I think at this point they might be banking on the fact that the House and Senate are a little too busy w/r/t financial legislation to give this a real fight that would eat up lots of time and they could finally push it through just to get it over with. I do see feel your confusion though, GOP controlled House and this bill do not mix.

      • It’s all an act to get the donations flowing and make us think they’re doing something.
        This is from the Boston.com article linked above “Feinstein said she is under no illusion that Congress will act this year to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. Still, she views the committee hearing as an important first step.”
        Not even Senator Feinstein thinks it will pass. I mean, they couldn’t get a single Republican co-sponsor.

        • It’s a lot more than we would get from a Republican president and more than we’ve ever gotten from any president.

    • because they were too busy passing health care reform and other things that are more important?

      • The 111th Congress passed more bills than any other Congress since the 1960s and yet they didn’t even try to get DOMA repealed, even though they had the majority of the House and the Senate.

        • Just because Democrats had a majority doesn’t mean it would’ve passed. There are still conservative Democrats who won’t risk a vote to “change the definition of marriage.” I think we still have a bit of time ahead before all Democrats embrace allowing gay marriage.

          I think attitudes will continue to move out way, but it may also just come down to some current Democrats being replaced or Democrats taking Republican seats. I don’t think 2012 is going to be a good one for Democrats either (though I don’t think it will be the bloodbath 2010 was). So we may need to wait for 2014 or 2016. A lot of public favor hinges on the economy and the president.

          • “Just because Democrats had a majority doesn’t mean it would’ve passed. ”
            Do you think that DOMA repeal has a better chance to pass today than when the Dems had the majority? I don’t.

          • No, I think it has an equally bad chance. The thing is, you need x number of votes. It doesn’t matter if you’re a little closer to that or not, you still need to reach that x number. We weren’t going to reach it then and we still aren’t now. It had no chance of passing either way.

            I’m not saying it’s worthless to bring up something you think will fail and you can really make it an issue and to try to get more votes, but a) given what they faced with the economy and healthcare and b) given the unlikihood of drumming up enough support, I just don’t see them making an issue out of marriage then. Republicans are slowly losing gay marriage as a wedge issue that works for them. Pretty soon it will go the other way and Democrats will want to use it politically. But it will wait for Dems to control things again. I don’t see how we win back the House in 2012. We could even lose the Senate as we are clinging on for dear life. I think DOMA could be repealed in the next 4 to 6 years though.

  3. Might I just say that if one is to put an emphatic “fucking” in the middle of the POTUS’ name, it should be placed like so: BARACK O-FUCKING-BAMA!!

    It just sounds better.

  4. Who wants to watch them have that hearing, go here! http://www.judiciary.senate.gov/hearings/hearing.cfm?id=3d9031b47812de2592c3baeba620f0e6

    Things at least FEEL like they are looking up. With a partner abroad and a desperate need for a green card, things like this make me wicked happy. But wow it would be practically unbelievable if DOMA got its proper kick in the ass. Bill Clinton is going to have to buy me a lot of cheeseburgers to make up for that a** move. He signed DOMA just before the 96 election. Doing the math there takes no genius.

    • The Clintons claimed, at the time and later, that it was the least horrible of a number of options – including an amendment – floating around.

    • Also, as the foreign half of a bi-national couple, I salute you and wish you the best of luck in fixing your partner’s situation.

  5. I love Kristen Gillibrand and I am proud to have her as my senator. Glad to see senators like Feinstein, Whitehouse and Gillibrand co-sponsoring this with elections looming for them in 2012. I’m not sure if this proposal can pass the GOP-led House, or even the Senate given how conservative some Democrats are quite frankly (and, of course, the fact that it’s an election year for some), but this is still the honorable thing to do.

    • Now the more cynical part of me thinks Feinstein, Gillibrand and Whitehouse are doing this BECAUSE they are up in 2012, not despite it. These three are from liberal states (California, NY and Rhode Island) so it can’t hurt them and will ensure they get outside money from the gay lobby. (Do we have a lobby? If so, do we need a better one?!) The people in the most middleground states that are up for re-election did NOT sponsor this bill. But as for the rest of the people who sponsored it, I think maybe they should thought it was the right thing to do. People like Blumenthal and Coons both just won in 2010 and have another 4 years before they face re-election. (They also come from liberal states Connecticut and Delaware.) Patty Murray is just won in 2010 and is from a state that isn’t too liberal, Washington, but she is heading the DSCC and needs to do some serious fundraising. Then there’s a bunch of other people too. I’ll just give everyone the benefit of the doubt and say they are all awesome.

        • When it comes down to it, these people are taking a step toward eliminating DOMA. For whatever there reasons, they would still like to see DOMA repealed. I would much rather see someone support repealing DOMA for political reasons, than see someone support keeping DOMA for political reasons. Do I think I’m ever gonna see Democrat Joe Manchin openly support gay rights? No, because he’s from fucking West Virginia and knows it would hurt him. He skipped the vote to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell vote because for his party and (maybe) his beliefs he wanted to end DADT, but politically he couldn’t. I think that’s rather side. Are there are plenty others I think are similar boats. So rather than complain about why Feinstein, Gillibrand and Whitehouse may be doing this, I will just be glad they did. I don’t believe that if we did have the votes to repeal DOMA these people would suddenly not want to sponsor this bill. And I know jobs, economy, blah blah. But DOMA is still part of the conversation and they aren’t forgetting it exists, so that’s positive. We do have some people in our corner.

          • I agree with everything you said. I also think we really need to make sure gay-friendly congressmen/women and senators are elected to make sure that we have a shot of passing ENDA and repealing DOMA (if the Supreme Court doesn’t get to it first)

  6. This is a happy time! And this is all but coming out in full support of Marriage Equality, which I bet he does after he is re elected. There is still a part of his base that whole heartedly oppose gay rights, and he needs to keep them to ensure the 2012 election is his.

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