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Senate Democrats Pass DOMA Repeal Bill In Committee

Nov 10, 2011

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Reported by

Frank James

It has no chance of passing in a divided Congress. But because a 10-to-8 vote Thursday to approve a Defense of Marriage Act repeal bill was the first time an effort to end DOMA has made legislative headway in Congress, Democrats on the panel were counting it as a success of sorts.

As NPR's David Welna reported for Thursday's All Things Considered:

DAVID: It was a straight party line vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee, with every Democrat voting to repeal DOMA and every Republican opposed. Still, Democratic chairman Patrick Leahy hailed the result:

LEAHY: This morning, the Judiciary Committee took a historic step forward in righting an injustice that goes right to the core of what we stand for in this nation: freedom and equality.

DAVID: California Democrat Diane Feinstein, who sponsored the bill, noted that same sex marriage is now legal in six states and the District of Columbia:

LEAHY: It's pretty clear that the time has come to repeal DOMA. When DOMA was passed, no one was affected, because no one was legally married, because no state had passed a law. That's changed now.

DAVID: Feinstein's Respect for Marriage Act, which now awaits action by the full Senate, would nullify DOMA...

... Texas Republican John Cornyn accused Democrats of simply playing politics:

CORNYN: Knowing that this bill will never become law in this Congress, i think it's a transparent appeal to a special-interest group that our Democratic friends believe is a key to their electoral victory in 2012

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