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No DOMA repeal bill until court decision

Log Cabin expects Portman to sign on as co-sponsor

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Rob Portman, United States Senate, Ohio, gay news, Washington Blade

Log Cabin Republicans is expecting Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) to co-sponsor DOMA repeal (Photo public domain)

Lawmakers are holding off on introducing legislation that would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act until after the Supreme Court rules on the anti-gay law, according to multiple sources familiar with the bill, as one Republican LGBT organization expects Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) to sign on as a co-sponsor.

A number of LGBT advocates familiar with the legislation, which has been known as the Respect for Marriage Act, told the Washington Blade its lead sponsors — Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) in the House and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) in the Senate — are delaying introduction until after the expected court ruling in June.

Fred Sainz, HRC’s vice president of communications, said his organization supports the decision to postpone introduction of the bill until after a decision is reached in the DOMA case, known as Windsor v. United States.

“The lead sponsors of the RMA have decided to wait until after the court rules in Windsor,” Sainz said. “We support that decision and look forward to continuing to work with them to advance this important legislation.”

Ian Thompson, legislative representative for the ACLU, said his organization, which filed the lawsuit against DOMA, has a similar understanding that the lead sponsors won’t introduce the Respect for Marriage Act until the Supreme Court rules on plaintiff Edith Windsor’s challenge.

“The ACLU understands and respects that decision, and is committed to continuing to work with our sponsors in Congress and coalition partners to advance the Respect for Marriage Act and a full repeal of DOMA to ensure that the federal government recognizes and respects the marriages of same-sex couples across the nation,” Thompson said.

Still, the lawmakers are staying mum. Ilan Kayatsky, a Nadler spokesperson, said he had “no news to report yet” on the timing for the introduction of the DOMA repeal bill, and Feinstein’s office declined to comment.

In the event that the Supreme Court decides to uphold DOMA, the Respect for Marriage Act would be the next approach to lifting the 1996 anti-gay law, which prohibits federal recognition of same-sex marriage. Moreover, as previously reported by the Blade, legislation still may be necessary if DOMA is overturned to clear up lingering inequities for married same-sex couples, such as in situations where they move from one state that recognizes their union to another that doesn’t.

Previous versions of the bill had a “certainty provision” spelling out that federal benefits would continue to flow to married gay couples — even if they live in a state that doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage.

David Codell, legal director at the Williams Institute of the University of California, Los Angeles, explained that the Respect for Marriage Act “would serve important purposes” even if the Supreme Court were to strike down the ban on federal recognition of same-sex marriage.

“The Respect for Marriage Act would make clear that the federal government would treat as valid for federal purposes all marriages of same-sex couples in the United States if the marriages were valid where entered — regardless of whether a couple currently lives in a state that permits same-sex couples to marry or recognizes such marriages,” Codell said. “The Act would mean that a validly married same-sex couple could move anywhere in the country without losing federal benefits tied to marriage.”

As they await introduction of a bill, LGBT advocates say they’re continuing to work to bring on additional co-sponsors for the bill, which closed the 112th Congress with 161 co-sponsors in the House and 32 co-sponsors in the Senate. That effort was highlighted by Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry.

“Freedom to Marry’s focus right now is on continuing to add co-sponsors as we prepare to introduce the bill with the strongest momentum possible when ready to move forward,” Wolfson said.

While the House bill had Republican co-sponsors in the 112th Congress — Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), Rep. Richard Hanna (D-N.Y.) and former Rep. Charlie Bass (R-N.H.) — the Senate version of the bill has never had GOP support. Even Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who’s considered an LGBT advocate and champion of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal, wasn’t a co-sponsor.

But the Log Cabin Republicans say that will change. Gregory Angelo, the organization’s executive director, said he expects Portman — who came out in favor of marriage equality after he learned his son is gay — to be among the sponsors of the DOMA repeal.

“Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Congressman Richard Hanna were Republican co-sponsors in the 112th Congress, and we have every expectation they will continue as co-sponsors when the bill is reintroduced,” Angelo said. “Given his recent evolution on marriage equality, we expect Republican Senator Portman to be a co-sponsor in the Senate.”

Angelo later clarified that he’s had no assurances from Portman that he’ll be a sponsor, but was basing his assessment on the senator’s past statements in favor of same-sex marriage.

Portman’s office didn’t respond to a request for comment on whether he’ll sign on as co-sponsor to the Respect for Marriage Act. According to a Cleveland Plain Dealer article at the time Portman came out for marriage equality, Portman told reporters he believes legally married gay couples should receive the federal benefits of marriage, but the report doesn’t quote him as saying he’ll sign on as a sponsor to DOMA repeal legislation per se.

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. CarrotCakeMan

    May 2, 2013 at 2:21 pm

    I’d much rather the Supreme Court revoked DOMA. That means it will be as if the law never existed, and my husband and I can refile our taxes and recoup a great deal of overtaxation we paid. I believe any same gender couple that took ANY available means to protect our relationships should be able to refile back as far as, in my husband’s and my case, when we got our Domestic Partnership in 2001.

  2. Adam Everett Colclasure

    May 2, 2013 at 10:18 pm

    I understand, there thinking on why, they want to wait but even if they high court keeps DOMA on the Books doing this before or after, there decision wouldn't interfere with there ruling and wouldn't be against any laws.

  3. Overcoming HeteroSupremacy

    May 8, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    Oink! Oink! Heterosupremacist Pig Alert?

    Whenever there's a too-frequent Heterosupremacist Pig Alert, I'm tempted to call the bigot a Heterosupremacist Pig. However as a vegan, I don't want to insult nor eat pigs.

    "It's simply not our role to try to make heterosexual-supremacists comfortable about their oppression of us born perfectly non-heterosexual. Deep in my heart I do believe that we shall overcome the evil myth of heterosexual-supremacy!" ~The Reverend Timmy.

    Video: Where is The Evil Myth of Heterosexual-Supremacy Alive and Sick? You Might Not Believe It!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YLKqi6Uch-0

    Video: What exactly is The Evil Myth of Heterosexual-Supremacy?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yIqyi-jMWmw

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Politics

State Department acknowledges Intersex Awareness Day

Special LGBTQ rights envoy moderated activist roundtable

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State Department (public domain photo)

The State Department on Tuesday acknowledged the annual Intersex Awareness Day.

“We proudly recognize the voices and human rights of intersex people around the world,” said State Department spokesperson Ned Price in a statement. “The Department of State is committed to promoting and protecting the rights, dignity, and equality of all individuals, including intersex persons.”

Price in his statement said U.S. foreign policy seeks to “pursue an end to violence and discrimination on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, and sex characteristics, while acknowledging the intersections with disability, race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, or other status.” Price also acknowledged intersex people “are subject to violence, discrimination, and abuse on the basis of their sex characteristics” and “many intersex persons, including children, experience invasive, unnecessary, and sometimes irreversible medical procedures.” 

“The department supports the empowerment of movements and organizations advancing the human rights of intersex persons and the inclusion of intersex persons in the development of policies that impact their enjoyment of human rights,” he said.

Jessica Stern, the special U.S. envoy for the promotion of LGBTQ rights abroad, on Tuesday moderated a virtual panel with intersex activists from around the world.

Intersex Awareness Day commemorates the world’s first-ever intersex protest that took place in Boston on Oct. 26, 1996.

Dana Zzyym, an intersex U.S. Navy veteran who identifies as non-binary, in 2015 filed a federal lawsuit against the State Department after it denied their application for a passport with their sex listed as “X.” The State Department in June announced it would begin to issue gender-neutral passports and documents for American citizens who were born overseas.

The U.S. and more than 50 other countries earlier this month signed a statement that urges the U.N. Human Rights Council to protect the rights of intersex people.

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Anti-LGBTQ Daily Wire host says 2 men shouldn’t be allowed to adopt babies

” […] because babies need mothers. They also need fathers, which is why two women shouldn’t be allowed either.”

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Screenshot of Matt Walsh via YouTube (Blade file photo)

NASHVILLE – Anti-LGBTQ Daily Wire podcast and YouTuber Matt Walsh joined the growing chorus of far-right and conservative voices outraged that U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg went on paternity leave from his job in August after he and his husband Chasten had adopted two children.

On his show Monday Walsh not only criticized Buttigieg, but he attacked same-sex couples adopting children altogether.

It’s absurd for any public employee, paid on taxpayer dime, to be given that much time off. Now, you can make an argument for women on maternity leave but not for men. Paternity leave is a nice luxury for private companies that can afford it. The U.S. government is not a private company – it’s a public institution, deeply in debt, failing in just about every way and everywhere. So this is not a time and not the place for those kinds of luxuries. But that’s the somewhat safer point to make, right? You are in a much more hazardous place, you are in more hazardous waters when you go away from that and, instead, you start saying mildly critical things about paternity leave in general as a concept.”

I also didn’t say that there’s nothing at all for a man to do for his family after a child is born. I said that as far as caring for the newborn himself, most of that is going to be done by the mother. She, in most cases, will be feeding the child. The child also needs and wants his mother’s presence, his mother’s touch, her voice. The father should be interacting with the baby also, obviously, but the infant is far more focused on his mother at that age. And needs his mother more. There is no mother in the Buttigieg household, but that doesn’t change the point here.”

Babies need their mothers, which is why two men shouldn’t be allowed to adopt babies in the first place. And the outrage mob can now start a secondary campaign over that comment. But I’ll say it again. Two men should not be allowed to adopt babies because babies need mothers. They also need fathers, which is why two women shouldn’t be allowed either.

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Pete Buttigieg calls out Tucker Carlson over attack

Fox News host mocked transportation secretary over paternity leave

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U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg (Washington Blade file photo)

Appearing remotely on MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace’s politics program Friday, U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg called out Fox News host Tucker Carlson for the attack on his parental leave.

“This attack is coming from a guy who has yet to explain his apparent approval for the assassination of Harvey Milk, ” Buttigieg said.

During his Thursday evening program Carlson said, “Pete Buttigieg has been on leave from his job since August after adopting a child—paternity leave, they call it—trying to figure out how to breastfeed. No word on how that went. But now he’s back in office as the transportation secretary and he’s deeply amused, he says, to see that dozens of container ships can’t get into this country.”

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