Calls grow for Senate hearing on DOMA repeal

The DOMA repeal bills (H.R, 1116 and S. 598) were introduced with great fanfare last week. So, now what? Last week, we wrote that the Senate Judiciary Committee should now hold a hearing on the repeal legislation. That seems to be the growing consensus about the next step. Chris Johnson from the Washington Blade has the story:

Evan Wolfson, executive director of the New York-based Freedom to Marry, said hearings before the Senate could help raise the level of discussion on marriage on Capitol Hill.

“One of Freedom to Marry’s top goals is to take the marriage conservation in Washington, D.C., to a higher level — putting real faces, presenting the real evidence and dispelling the bogus arguments — to give elected officials and other policy makers a better understanding of why marriage matters,” Wolfson said. “Holding hearings is certainly one important opportunity for us to help continue the momentum in support of overturning DOMA and ending marriage discrimination.”

A Senate Democratic aide, who spoke on condition of anonymity, also emphasized the importance of hearings as legislative repeal remains unlikely during the 112th Congress.

“One of the key steps that senators can take to build momentum is to have a hearing, or hearings, on the topic,” the aide said. “I think a thorough and perhaps even a dramatic hearing could galvanize opinion in the Senate and hopefully even serve as a galvanizing moment more broadly in the public.”

The Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Patrick Leahy (D-VT), is an original cosponsor of the DOMA repeal bill. DOMA repeal would fall under his committee’s jurisdiction. We need Leahy to set a date.

Chris Johnson even communicated with NOM’s Maggie Gallagher, who told him “via e-mail that she would appreciate the opportunity to speak at a congressional hearing on marriage, but questioned why they would need to take place if DOMA repeal legislation has no chance of passage.” Yes, of course she would appreciate the opportunity to testify. She jumps at any chance to spew her homophobia. Well, she has jumped at every opportunity except one: the Prop. 8 trial. Yes, Maggie, the “expert” on opposition to same-sex marriage didn’t take the witness stand, which would have required taking an oath to tell the truth, in that landmark trial. What David Boies stated so eloquently after the trial probably explains why:

There simply wasn’t any evidence, there weren’t any of those studies. There weren’t any empirical studies. That’s just made up. That’s junk science. It’s easy to say that on television. But a witness stand is a lonely place to lie. And when you come into court you can’t do that.

Besides homophobia, Maggie doesn’t have anything but junk science. She can spew it on television — and does. But, she and the rest of her ilk shouldn’t be allowed to lie on a Senate witness stand. That’s why last week, I also wrote that if Senator Leahy holds hearings, he should put the DOMA repeal witnesses under oath.

So, we need a hearing on DOMA repeal — and to insure the dignity of the hearings, the witnesses should be under oath.


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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