March 24, 2011
By Adam Bink
A few days ago, following when I did a whip count of support for DOMA repeal, I was quoted in a Minnesota Independent piece regarding a post I wrote here titled “We are two votes shy of repealing DOMA in the Senate Judiciary Committee”. Here’s the Minnesota Independent excerpt (bolding mine):
Klobuchar missing from DOMA repeal billBill needs only two votes to pass out of committee
Sen. Amy Klobuchar is one of only two Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee who have not signed on to a bill to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, and that committee is only two votes away from passing the bill out of committee. Klobuchar and Wisconsin Sen. Herb Kohl are seen as the two key votes on the committee and both have said they haven’t decided which way they will vote when the bill is taken up in the coming weeks.
The bill would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, a 1995 bill signed by President Clinton which bans the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages. In February, President Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder evaluated the law, found it likely to be unconstitutional and decided not to defend the law in court challenges. And last Wednesday, Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California introduced a bill to repeal the law.
Minnesota’s Sen. Al Franken, who also sits on the 18-member judiciary committee, is a sponsor of the bill. In order to pass the committee, the bill needs 10 votes, and eight senators on that committee are already sponsors. Eight other members of the committee are Republicans not likely to vote for the bill. That leaves two votes unaccounted for, those of Klobuchar and Kohl.
The Courage Campaign, a proponent of the bill, contacted Klobuchar and Kohl late last week.
“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,” wrote Adam Bink, director of online programs for the Courage Campaign. “To my knowledge, no Republicans on the committee have taken a position on this bill, either. So we are two [votes] shy.”
OutFront Minnesota, the state’s largest LGBT advocacy group, responded to the news in a Facebook posting: “Who knew Amy Klobuchar hasn’t taken a position on the repeal of DOMA? It’ll probably come as a surprise to thousands of voters (and donors).”
We’re still waiting for confirmation, but today Andy Birkey, the original author of the piece above, posted an update (bolding mine):
Klobuchar to vote for DOMA repealBy Andy Birkey | 03.24.11 | 11:12 am
Sen. Amy Klobuchar will support a bill that would repeal the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) when it comes up for a vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee on which Klobuchar serves, state Sen. Scott Dibble has indicated. DOMA currently prevents same-sex couples legally married in five states, Washington, D.C., and one tribal nation from receiving the federal benefits of marriage. President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder decided in February to halt defense of DOMA citing its probable unconstitutionality.
Last week, the Courage Campaign noted that Klobuchar was one of two Democratic senators who hadn’t signed on to the DOMA repeal bill (the other is Wisconsin’s Herb Kohl) and that her office stated that she had not taken a position on the bill. That prompted OutFront Minnesota, the state’s largest LGBT advocacy group, to initiate a campaign urging constituents to call on her to support the repeal.
On Tuesday, state Sen. Dibble of Minneapolis noted that he spoke with Klobuchar’s staff, who indicated she would vote for the measure.
“I have spoken directly with Amy Klobuchar’s State Director,” Dibble wrote on Facebook. “Senator Klobuchar will be voting for the repeal of DOMA in the Senate Judiciary Committee.”
Klobuchar’s press office has not responded to the Minnesota Independent’s request for confirmation.
Success! Now, I’d like to see Sen. Klobuchar join as a co-sponsor, and let’s see what we can do about Sen. Herb Kohl.
If her position is confirmed, this puts us just one vote shy of passage.
If you haven’t done so yet, join our campaign to repeal DOMA, now over 50,000 people and counting.