October 25, 2011 at 12:21 pm EDT | by Chris Johnson
Leahy sets committee action on DOMA repeal for Nov. 3

Sen. Patrick Leahy (Blade file photo by Michael Key).

The chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee has set Nov. 3 as the start for debate and a committee vote on legislation to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act.

In a statement Tuesday, the office of Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) announced the committee “will begin debate on legislation” starting Nov. 3. The Vermont lawmaker previously pledged to hold a panel vote on the bill in November.

The committee begin its executive business meeting at 10 am in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, Room 226.

According to the agenda, the committee also on Nov. 3 is set to vote on the nomination of Michael Walter Fitzgerald, the openly gay judicial nominee whom President Obama nominated in July for a seat on the U.S. District Court in the Central District of California.

The Respect for Marriage Act was introduced in March by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.). In addition to support from Feinstein, the bill has 30 co-sponsors in the Senate. Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) is the most recent co-sponsor and signed on in support of the legislation last week.

In July, the Senate Judiciary Committee heard testimony from lawmakers, LGBT advocates, conservatives, and individuals in same-sex marriages on the effects that DOMA has on gay couples seeking protections for their families through marriage. The hearing was the first-ever to take place in Congress against DOMA.

The bill should have no trouble moving out of committee. All 10 Democrats on the panel co-sponsor the bill, which should give it enough support to move to the Senate floor.

NOTE: This post has been updated.

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

  • I don’t agree with repealing this. I think everyones allowed and is there choice who they choose to marry, not the public. That’s like telling men and woman to not be allowed to get married. Hate how people are treated for wanting to love who they love.

    • I thought this repeal will help us in the future, so that we will have the legality of marriage that is not recognized in federal government right now? so repealing doma will actually approve gay marriage and it will protect lgbt marriage and family. Who don’t you agree with repealing it?

      In addition, repealing doma will ensure that binational LGBT couples will never have to separate and endure huge discrimination and stress that they are going thru right now.

    • repealing it woudl be good then….DOMA prevents gay marriages from being recognized by the federal goverment…replease of DOMA is a GOOD thing for gays

  • I think you misunderstand this. This is the one that says that when a gay couple gets married, they don’t get the same benefits as a man and wife do. Repealing it should change that and allow all couples to be treated equally.

  • I would love to see the damn DOMA repealed, but I don’t have much confidence in this happening. First of all, the bill can get out of the Senate committee, but I don’t think it can get past the full senate due to Republican filibusters and a few turncoat Democrats who would betray us. Even if it did get past the senate by some miracle, it would be dead on arrival in the House which is run by anti-gay Republicans. How I long for the days when Pelosi was Speaker of the House, if only we could replace the Blue Dog Democrats and about 60 Republicans with Progressives we could really achieve equality there, and the same can be said for the Senate where we need to replace about six of the sellout Dems with Progressives; along with about 20 of the gay bashing Republicans.

  • Democrats always play this rotten game.

    When they controlled the Congress and the White House the refused to repeal DOMA or pass ENDA. Now they’re pretending to be on our side because they’re in trouble because they screwed up the economy (with al little help from their Republican and Teabagger cousins).

    Republicans are almost as bad as Democrats but at least they’re honest bigots.

    Just forget about elections. We should put all our efforts into building mass actions and mass pressure for LGBT right and into building OWS and unions. On November 6th, 2012 vote against Democrats and Republicans. Vote left or even better, don’t vote. Instead, build a demonstration against the bigots in Congress and the Bigot in Chief in the White House.

  • I’d much rather see DOMA struck down by the Supreme Court as the unconstitutional violation of the equal-protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment that it actually is. There are now no fewer than SIX lawsuits challenging its constitutionality precisely on those grounds — and at least four federal courts already have declared DOMA unconstitutional.

    It will likely take such a ruling by the high court anyway, for I have no confidence that the Respect for Marriage Act that seeks to replace DOMA has any chance of passage in the Republican-controlled House — and might even be blocked in the Senate by a GOP filibuster. The Democrats, you must remember, still lack the 60 votes in the Senate required to choke off filibusters

  • Neither repealing DOMA or keeping DOMA is satisfactory for anyone.

    We can satisfy everyone by replacing DOMA with an entirely new set of laws that give protections and federal recognition to same-sex couples and their families, preserve marriage as a man and a woman allowed to conceive offspring together, and prohibit labs creating people by any means other than joining a man and a woman’s unmodified gametes.

    The Egg and Sperm Civil Union Compromise consists of three laws to be enacted together:

    1) Stop genetic engineering by limiting conception of children to the union of a man and a woman’s sperm and egg.
    2) Federally recognize state civil unions that are defined as “marriage minus conception rights.”
    3) Affirm in federal law the right of all marriages to conceive children together using their own genes.

    That’s the Egg and Sperm Civil Union Compromise: Equal Protections, Equal Conceptions. Congress can actually achieve this, and help thousands of families and protect the essential meaning of marriage, and take control of the wild west of human genetic engineering.

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