Nadler: No DOMA repeal in this session of Congress

Rep. Jerrold Nadler did an interview with Chris Johnson from the new publication dcagenda.com (the reincarnation of the Washington Blade) on his DOMA repeal bill. No surprise that this bill won’t see action in this Congress. By adding cosponsors, this does provide an opportunity to find out who our friends are — and aren’t. The looming question is whether Congress acts on ENDA and the repeal of DADT in this Congress:

The sponsor of a bill that would overturn the Defense of Marriage Act said repeal won’t happen in this Congress and that efforts next year will instead be focused on building support on the issue.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) said in an interview with DC Agenda that lawmakers will work on passing other pro-LGBT bills next year, and could take up legislation to repeal DOMA — known as the Respect for Marriage Act — at the end of the two-year session starting in 2011.

“The Respect for Marriage Act is a bill that we can’t pass right now; we know we can’t pass it right now,” he said.

Nadler said Congress won’t take up the DOMA repeal next year because other LGBT-related bills, including the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, legislation providing partner benefits for LGBT federal workers and a repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” are taking precedence. Supporters hope to pass those measures by the end of 2010.

“The Respect for Marriage Act comes up after that, maybe at the end of the next Congress, maybe afterward,” he said.

Maybe. We could have a court decision overturning DOMA before Congress acts.

And, supporters do hope to pass ENDA and the repeal of DADT in this Congress. That could be a heavy lift in an election year. It would be smart politics for Democrats to pass these key bills, but Democrats aren’t always smart about their politics. In what is shaping up to be a bad election year, Democrats may be hesitant to act on social issues. We’ll need to keep a very close eye on this.


On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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