Thursday, November 10, 2011

Senate Judiciary Commitee Approved "Respect of Marriage Act" by Vote of 10-8

It's been a busy work day, so it was nice to come home to news that the Senate Judiciary Committee voted favorably on the Respect for Marriage Act earlier today by a vote of 10-8.  RFMA, if passed, would repeal the federal Defense of Marriage Act and allow the U.S. government the ability to provide federal benefits to married gay and lesbian couples.  RFMA would not compel individual states to recognize gay marriages.

According to Think Progress, most of the opposition came from the GOP.  You can read some of the highlights hereHere is Iowa's contribution to the debate:
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) argued that only opposite-sex couples promote “stable families, good environments for raising children and religious beliefs.” He also added, “the Fourteenth Amendment would probably never have been ratified if the public understood it to provide for same-sex marriage.”
Of course, many of Grassley's constituents are married gay parents.  I'm biased, off course, but I strongly disagree with his assertion that gay and lesbian parents are incapable of promoting stable home for our children.  Later in the debate, our neighbor to the north -- Senator Al Franken of Minnesota -- countered some of Grassley's arguments:
I just believe you misstated the history of marriage. Marriage has not existed as a union between one man and one woman for thousands of years in every culture. In many cultures, men have been able to marry many women and young girls. For centuries, women have been treated as chattel in marriage. Further, if the religious purpose for marriage is procreation, why would we sanction marriage between an 89 year-old widower and an 80 year-old widow? I just think we need to be accurate when we talk about the history of marriage, the history of man and woman, the history of our institutions.
Following the vote, the White House issued the following statement:
President Obama applauds today’s vote by the Senate Judiciary Committee to approve the Respect for Marriage Act, which would provide a legislative repeal of the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act.” “The President has long believed that DOMA is discriminatory and has called for its repeal. We should all work towards taking this law off the books. The federal government should not deny gay and lesbian couples the same rights and legal protections afforded to straight couples.
It's unclear if RFMA will go anywhere in the U.S. Senate.  In fact, I'll be (pleasantly) shocked if it does.

No comments: