DOMA Trumps DADT Repeal. The Associated Press is reporting that even though DADT is on the way out, gay and lesbian servicemembers will still be treated as second class citizens because DOMA will prevent them from receiving benefits offered freely to opposite sex married couples. This includes housing considerations, posting assignments, medical care, access to shopping facilities and a variety of other services provided only on military bases.
Gay military personnel married to other personnel would be treated as if they were single, which could potentially mean being deployed to opposite ends of the world. The military typically tries to keep married couples together.
Senate Confirms Out Gay Federal Judge. In what's been called an unremarkable event, the U.S. Senate confirmed the nomination of Paul Oetken, an openly gay man, to the federal bench by a vote of 80-13. The Washington Post reports:
“As the first openly gay man to be confirmed as a federal judge,” Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) told a nearly empty chamber before the vote, “he will be a symbol of how much we have achieved as a country in just the last few decades. And importantly, he will give hope to many talented young lawyers who until now thought their paths might be limited because of their sexual orientation. When Paul becomes Judge Oetken, he will be living proof to all those young lawyers that it really does get better.”
But Schumer observed, correctly, that this bit of history was an “otherwise quiet moment” for the Senate. The ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Chuck Grassley (Iowa) gave a brief speech in support of Oetkin, mentioning the nominee’s Iowa roots but nothing about his homosexuality.DOMA Repeal Hearings to Begin on Wednesday. Senator Dianne Feinstein is expected to hold a press conference today accompanied by gay and lesbian couples directly affected by the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The move comes a day before a senate committee hearing on the Respect for Marriage Act, sponsored by Feinstein and Sen. Jerry Nadler, which is intended to repeal DOMA. The legislation is not expected to make it through the Republican-led House to the president's desk and is seen as largely symbolic.
USA Today reports:
While a repeal bill stands little chance of passing both chambers of Congress this year, its supporters say the legislation and the Senate hearing are still valuable. Both will help set the stage for same-sex marriage to be an issue in the 2012 elections.
"We see this as a long-term effort and part of that effort is education," says Adam Bink, director of online programs for Courage Campaign, an advocacy group.Related articles