The defence of Marriage Act (DOMA) has its day in the Supreme Court Wednesday in what has been described as the “ideal” case for gay rights activists.
DOMA, which forbids the U.S. government from recognising same-sex relationships defined by the states, has been a thorn in the side of the gay rights movement since its passage in 1996.
As a result of DOMA, people engaged in same-sex marriages receive none of the financial and institutional benefits that the federal government gives to straight married couples, including favourable taxation, various protections, estate tax and gift treatment as well as a host of other goods and services.
The thing is, DOMA wouldn’t even be on the books if it weren’t for the votes of several (now rather embarassed) Democrats.
Many people who voted for the measure have since expressed regret. Most notably, former President Bill Clinton — the Democrat who signed it into law — has repudiated the law.
Still, here are some notable Democrats who voted for DOMA in 1994, with their current position listed:
- Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.)
- Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.)
- Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio)
- Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J)
- Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.)
- Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y)
- Vice President Joe Biden (D-Del.)
- Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D- N.J.)
- Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.)
- Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.)
- Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.)
- Sen. Harry Reid (D-N.V.)
Sen. Ron Portman (R-Ohio) — who came out in favour of gay marriage this week after learning that his son was gay — also voted for the bill.
Notable “Nay” votes on DOMA include House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.), Rep. Jerold Nadler (D-N.Y.), Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Secretary of State John Kerry and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Wash.).
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