November 10, 2011
By Arisha Michelle Hatch
Updates scroll from the top
11:36 AM EST: Vote happening now. 10 yays, 8 nays (most of the “nays” were by proxy). The Senate Judiciary Committee just voted to repeal DOMA. It will be considered in the Senate. (Note from Adam: “We can do this!”)
11:28 AM EST: 5 minutes until a vote; Schumer quotes MLK’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” as a response to those Republicans on the committee who have suggested that now is not the right time. “This ‘wait’ has always almost meant ‘never,” Schumer recalls.
11:24 AM EST: Blumenthal is up and is apparently the last to speak before a vote. “We are advancing the cause of justice today” he says. (Update) Also, Sen. Grassley decided to withdraw the 3 amendments he circulated for consideration, noting that he didn’t have the votes.
11:20 AM EST: Sessions starts out by insinuating that Democrats are the reason that the Respect for Marriage Act won’t pass (losing all credibility from the jump) and then continues by worrying that 2 sisters may want to get married (there’s really no point to printing the rest of his dribble).
11:17 AM EST: Sen. Coons states that for those who hear repeated arguments that this bill will go nowhere today, 30 co-sponsors is not nothing.
11:10 AM EST: Franken eloquently states: “The suffering that DOMA causes is very real…DOMA hurts families. Mr. Chairman we need to pass this bill and when we do pass it straight people aren’t going to suddenly turn gay…We’ll be just fine. ..What will happen is that it will be easier for those people to start and protect their families.”
11:03 AM EST: Sen. Coburn thinks the freedom to marry is not a priority for people. “Your compassion should be rewarded, your commitment should be rewarded …but now is not the time …because we’re not working on the priorities of the country.”
11:01 AM EST: Sen. Whitehouse: “I have had the privilege of hearing from numerous Rhode Islanders…who are prejudiced needlessly under this law….We owe them better…We should treat [their] commitment with respect…It’s the federalist thing to do.”
10:51 AM EST: Sen. Durbin states that “every generation of senators” gets a chance to strike down some form of discrimination. He opened by admitting that he was wrong to vote for DOMA. Sen. Cornyn asks Durbin when he expects the bill to come to the floor; Durbin responds that the date is difficult to predict because of so many Republican filibusters.
10:48 AM EST: Sen. Cornyn complains that there’s no point in bringing up bills without floor support. He stated that he believes that Sen. Reid will never bring this up for a floor vote.
10:42 AM EST: Sen. Schumer points out that those who discriminate historically have always make the same argument; they say that “this discrimination is different than previous types of discrimination or they said we shouldn’t do it because a lot of people don’t like it…but those barriers failed,” just as these barriers will fail. “Repealing DOMA respects states rights to make their own decisions on marriage.”
10:36 AM EST: Republican Sen. Hatch (no known relation to me) informs us of his intention to vote against repeal (surprise, surprise!) and makes a states rights argument.
10:29 AM EST: Adam reports that Sen. Grassley is whining about spending time on bills that may not get floor time, before going on his usual shtick about one man, one woman marriage. He also takes time to point out that the freedom to marry has nothing to do with Loving v. Virginia.
10:24 AM EST: Feinstein added that DOMA repeal is supported by 60 leading American companies, including Nike, Google, Time Warner. She urges for a clean vote with no amendments because 130,000 legally married couples deserve rights.
10:21 AM EST: Adam reports that the 10th Dem (Sen. Blumenthal) has arrived. Sen. Feinstein has just begun addressing the committee now and thanks all 10 Dems on the committee for co-sponsoring the Respect For Marriage Act. “Mr. Chairman, I believe that DOMA is discriminatory,” she begins.
10:16 AM EST: Sens. Schumer, Klobuchar, Coburn and Coons have also arrived (accounting for 9 of the 10 Dems on the committee); only 5 of 8 Republicans are currently present. The Committee is now voting on judge nominations.
10:12 AM EST: Adam reports that Sens. Durbin and Franken have arrived. Sen. Leahy opened by discussing the history of marriage and DOMA in Vermont. Rep. Nadler, a lead House co-sponsor of DOMA repeal, is also present to observe. Votes are expected at noon eastern, so this will likely be a short affair. You can also follow Adam on twitter @CourageCampaign for more updates.
10:08 AM EST: We’re finally getting started here. If you’re able, you can watch livestream footage http://networkedblogs.com/pLHty here.
9:56 AM EST: Adam reports that he’s waiting in Hart 216 for DOMA hearing to begin. Three amendments are expected and he’s already spotted a staff from the Traditional Values Coalition in attendance.
9:15 AM EST: Good morning (bright and early to those of you with me on the Left Coast!) and welcome to our coverage of today’s Senate Judiciary Committee markup and vote on the Respect for Marriage Act to repeal DOMA. For nostalgia, here’s coverage of the press conference with Sen. Feinstein introducing the bill in the Senate, way back on March 16th. A long road to get here, and a first big step to repealing DOMA.
Courage’s Adam Bink will be at the hearing in DC, sending in dispatches and tweeting at @couragecampaign. I’ll be providing live updates here. The hearing commences at 10 AM.
There’s a lot of “so what, this bill won’t go anywhere as long as Boehner and the Republicans control the House!” sentiment whenever these kinds of hearings and votes happen. Adam responded to that in an op-ed published in The Advocate today — an essay that was actually based on a post he wrote here at Prop8TrialTracker.com. This stuff does matter. Today we’re going to generate a lot of news, change some hearts and minds, move some polling numbers, and increase pressure on the legislators we’re pushing to support this bill (now at at record 31 in the Senate, a record 133 in the House). That all matters.
More as the hearing begins. Updates will scroll from the top.