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With Undependable Obama, Turn to Congress for DOMA Repeal

President Barack Obama’s feckless indifference to keeping his promises shows the weakness of relying upon just one person in power to make policy change happen. In the spring of 2009, Obama moved to halt repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, a law that violates equal protection and federalist clauses of the Constitution by setting separate and unequal standards for federal recognition of state marriage laws, pushing gay and lesbian couples into second-class citizenship. In the fall of 2009, he seemed to reverse course, promising in a flashy televised speech to work for repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act. But yesterday, he reversed course a second time, moving yet again to stop DOMA repeal.

If you want to end the Defense of Marriage Act, do you need any clearer signal that Barack Obama is not going to be your shining champion of the Change You Can Believe In? It’s time to move on from that relationship. More than that, let’s face it: the relationship between forces pushing for change and a single holder of power is always going to be a problem for marginalized people, especially when there are only only two parties. Sure, the president’s broken his promise to you, but what are you going to do about it?

That’s not a rhetorical question. The implied alternative — vote for a Republican president who doesn’t even pretend to support equal rights — isn’t a good alternative, but it also isn’t the only alternative. It’s time to switch our attention away from the presidency. The Congress passed the Defense of Marriage Act, which means the Congress can repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. There are a lot of alternatives to choose from in the Congress, and some responsive representatives there who have yet to act and need a nudge.

Did you know that there is no bill at all before the U.S. Senate to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act? Some senator has to have the moral courage to get the effort started. Someone in the senate has to introduce a repeal bill. The following are the ten most liberal members of the U.S. Senate. If you find your senator in this bunch, give him (yep, they’re all men) a call with this simple request: sponsor a bill to repeal DOMA.

Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD)
Senator Richard J. Durbin (D-IL)
Senator Russell D. Feingold (D-WI)
Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA)
Senator Patrick J. Leahy (D-VT)
Senator Carl Levin (D-MI)
Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR)
Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
Senator Mark Udall (D-CO)
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)

The House of Representatives is one step ahead of the Senate; it has introduced a bill, H.R. 3567, to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. An impressive 121 legislators have cosponsored the House repeal bill. They deserve our attention and congratulations:

Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-HI, District 1)
Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-NY, District 5)
Rep. Robert Andrews (D-NJ, District 1)
Rep. Michael Arcuri (D-NY, District 24)
Rep. Brian Baird (D-WA, District 3)
Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI, District 2)
Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA, District 31)
Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-NV, District 1)
Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA, District 28)
Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR, District 3)
Rep. Robert Brady (D-PA, District 1)
Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA, District 23)
Rep. Michael Capuano (D-MA, District 8 )
Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL, District 11)
Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA, District 32)
Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-NY, District 11)
Rep. Lacy Clay (D-MO, District 1)
Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO, District 5)
Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA, District 11)
Rep. John Conyers (D-MI, District 14)
Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT, District 2)
Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-NY, District 7)
Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD, District 7)
Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL, District 7)
Rep. Susan Davis (D-CA, District 53)
Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO, District 1)
Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT, District 3)
Rep. Michael Doyle (D-PA, District 14)
Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD, District 4)
Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN, District 5)
Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY, District 17)
Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA, District 14)
Rep. Sam Farr (D-CA, District 17)
Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-PA, District 2)
Rep. Bob Filner (D-CA, District 51)
Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH, District 11)
Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA, District 10)
Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL, District 8 )
Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ, District 7)
Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL, District 4)
Rep. John Hall (D-NY, District 19)
Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA, District 36)
Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL, District 23)
Rep. Martin Heinrich (D-NM, District 1)
Rep. Brian Higgins (D-NY, District 27)
Rep. James Himes (D-CT, District 4)
Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY, District 22)
Rep. Mazie Hirono (D-HI, District 2)
Rep. Paul Hodes (D-NH, District 2)
Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ, District 12)
Rep. Michael Honda (D-CA, District 15)
Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY, District 2)
Rep. Jesse Jackson (D-IL, District 2)
Rep. Eddie Johnson (D-TX, District 30)
Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA, District 4)
Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI, District 1)
Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy (D-OH, District 15)
Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH, District 10)
Rep. John Larson (D-CT, District 1)
Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA, District 9)
Rep. John Lewis (D-GA, District 5)
Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA, District 16)
Rep. Nita Lowey (D-NY, District 18)
Rep. Ben Lujan (D-NM, District 3)
Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA, District 9)
Rep. Dan Maffei (D-NY, District 25)
Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY, District 14)
Rep. Edward Markey (D-MA, District 7)
Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA, District 5)
Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN, District 4)
Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA, District 7)
Rep. James McGovern (D-MA, District 3)
Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY, District 6)
Rep. George Miller (D-CA, District 7)
Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI, District 4)
Rep. James Moran (D-VA, District 8 )
Rep. Christopher Murphy (D-CT, District 5)
Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY, District 8 ) — principal sponsor
Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-CA, District 38)
Rep. Eleanor Norton (D-DC, District 0)
Rep. John Olver (D-MA, District 1)
Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ, District 6)
Rep. Ed Pastor (D-AZ, District 4)
Rep. Donald Payne (D-NJ, District 10)
Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME, District 1)
Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO, District 2)
Rep. David Price (D-NC, District 4)
Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL, District 5)
Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY, District 15)
Rep. Laura Richardson (D-CA, District 37)
Rep. Steven Rothman (D-NJ, District 9)
Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA, District 34)
Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA, District 39)
Rep. John Sarbanes (D-MD, District 3)
Rep. Janice Schakowsky (D-IL, District 9)
Rep. Robert Scott (D-VA, District 3)
Rep. Jose Serrano (D-NY, District 16)
Rep. Joe Sestak (D-PA, District 7)
Rep. Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH, District 1)
Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA, District 27)
Rep. Albio Sires (D-NJ, District 13)
Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY, District 28)
Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA, District 12)
Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA, District 13)
Rep. John Tierney (D-MA, District 6)
Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY, District 21)
Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-NY, District 10)
Rep. Niki Tsongas (D-MA, District 5)
Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD, District 8 )
Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY, District 12)
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL, District 20)
Rep. Diane Watson (D-CA, District 33)
Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA, District 30)
Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY, District 9)
Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT, District 0)
Rep. Robert Wexler (D-FL, District 19)
Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA, District 6)
Rep. David Wu (D-OR, District 1)

But 121 supporters aren’t enough to get a bill passed through the House. We need 97 more members to sign on in support. If you don’t see your district representative listed above, find his or her contact information here and get in touch to ask him or her specifically to cosponsor H.R. 3567.

Taking these actions will feel better than wringing your hands, I promise.

7 comments to With Undependable Obama, Turn to Congress for DOMA Repeal

  • Kandi Bailey

    say NNNNNOOOOOOOOO to gay rights and gay marriage!!!! God created Adam and Eve NOT Adam and Steve!!!!!!!!!1

    • Anonymous

      It must be exhausting to fight a loosing battle. The Constitution, an actual, real document, was created for all Americans.

    • So who created Steve, Kandi? I know a lot of guys named Steve. Did Zeus make them?

      You are, of course, aware that homosexuality is actually widespread in multiple species. Did Zeus make those animals, too?

      • Chuck

        Steve was created by Adam and Eve. Who do you think created Steve? Adam and Adam? Or Eve and Eve? There is a reason animals are not like humans. Animals have no moral center, they act on instinct. There is no moral center in perverting the human species from its intended purpose, That purpose is to be fruitful and multiply. And being fruitful means to do good in your life, while multiplying means copulation between a man and a woman. It can’t be done any other way except in an immoral test tube perversion in a laboratory. It is obvious if one has a moral center and is not an animal what the intended purpose of marriage between a man and woman is. Anything else is either a strong friendship or an animal instinct and a perversion of marriage or maybe a civil union. Don’t confuse the animal instincts of nature with the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman.

        • Well,Chuck, Eve was the first woman, so who do you think created Abel’s wife? Obviously, it was two men… because it couldn’t possible be that the entire text is just a load of nonsense, right?

        • Chuck, you also left out that animals don’t have intestines! Or bank accounts! Or eyeballs, or sports teams, or smart phones, or hair.

          Or fathers-in-law. Think about that one.

  • Manuel Little

    What this article is saying is that DOMA’s defense won’t be appealed by the Obama Admin. to the Supreme Court; therefore if repealed, it has to be repealed in Congress.

    No one in the Senate has started a Bill to overthrow DOMA, and the House of Reps. is controlled by Republicans. Note that only Democrat Reps. are supportive of the Bill in the House, and when the matter gets to debate, some of them can easily withdraw so as to not offend their constituency.

    What’s worse, Congress could ratify DOMA, and that would make things worse for you guys that write this blog. Sorry, but DOMA is indeed Constitutional and that’s why.

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