March 17, 2011
By Adam Bink
It’s true. 18 co-sponsors introduced Senate legislation to repeal DOMA yesterday, plus Sen. Feinstein, for a total of 19 (listed below). 8 of them, including Sen. Feinstein, sit on the Senate Judiciary Committee. There are 18 members on the Senate Judiciary Committee. So we need 10 votes. I just got off the phone with the offices of Democratic Sens. Kohl (D-WI) and Klobuchar (D-MN), who are not co-sponsors and told me they have not yet taken a position on the bill itself yet. To my knowledge, no Republicans on the committee have taken a position on this bill, either. So we are two shy.
Now, caveats. It is true that the partisan composition of the Judiciary Committee (in both the House and the Senate) is usually made of up members on the opposite ideological poles, and this Congress is no exception. The membership is more left- (and right)- wing than the rest of their parties as a whole. It’s also true that having 19 votes for repeal of DOMA isn’t close to having 60.
But I say this because there are already a lot of nay-sayers who say don’t bother introducing legislation, Republicans control the House, it will never get to the President’s desk, yadda yadda yadda. To them I say it is a BFD if repeal passes the Senate Judiciary Committee this cycle, a goal Sen. Feinstein articulated her plans to achieve at yesterday’s press conference. That will make headlines around the country, headlines of articles where it is explained what DOMA does to same-sex couples. Passage will also give momentum to drive Senators to sign onto the bill, or at least give it a second look. And suddenly we have a lot more than just 19 votes. Two votes shy of committee passage is no small thing.
Moreover, we, as a community, must start somewhere, and must begin early. Given the movement of the DOMA court cases and the public, it makes no sense to wait until there is pro-LGBT leadership to introduce something. We must make this an issue in the Presidential campaign, and the Senate and House campaigns in 2012, by making it clear that DOMA repeal is a priority, which you do in part by having a bill around which to organize. So let’s start now. Let’s start changing minds and votes.
Since we launched our campaign at 6 AM PST yesterday, over 1,000 people PER HOUR have signed up for our campaign to repeal DOMA. We are already deploying a “Step 1″ e-mail for this campaign, and more actions for next week, working with allies like Sen. Feinstein and Rep. Nadler. If you haven’t already, please sign up, and share with friends. You can also join the (as of this post) 16,457 people who clicked “Like” on Facebook, too, to spread the word.