Sen. Herb Kohl supports DOMA repeal

From the fine folks at the Courage Campaign comes a bit of great news: Wisconsin’s lone Democratic U.S. Senator, Herb Kohl, has indicated he’ll join nine of his Democratic colleagues to vote to pass S. 598, the Respect for Marriage Act, out of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The Respect for Marriage Act would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which was enacted in 1996 and counted among its supporters none other than Sen. Herb Kohl. While the news of Sen. Kohl’s support of a repeal of DOMA is certainly welcome, a repeal will have an uphill fight to overcome a possible Republican filibuster. In order to avoid a filibuster, some Republican support will be necessary (not to mention corralling some moderate/conservative Democrats), but I’m not sure how many Republican Senators would support a repeal of DOMA, no matter how hard they’re lobbied.

9 comments to Sen. Herb Kohl supports DOMA repeal

  • herbie's my hero

    not surprising – kohl has been known as the “dairy queen” for many many years.

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  • I haven’t read the RMA, but DOMA is eventually going to be repealed or struck down as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, because its main provision, which allows states not to recognize a certain class of marriages carried out in other states (namely, same-sex marriages), runs afoul of the Full Faith and Credit Clause. To wit:

    Such Acts, records and judicial proceedings or copies thereof, so authenticated, shall have the same full faith and credit in every court within the United States and its Territories and Possessions as they have by law or usage in the courts of such State, Territory or Possession from which they are taken. US Const. Art. IV, Sec. 1.

    You can also argue that nowhere in the Constitution is Congress authorized to define or regulate marriage in any sense, and no one in their right mind would try to shoehorn marriage into the usual Article I catchall for Congressional power, the Interstate Commerce Clause.

    Unfortunately, the Chief Justice of the United States and several Associate Justices aren’t a fan of gays, lesbians, and bisexuals, and would, I suspect, do virtually anything to avoid having to conclude that the Constitution protects them too.

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    • Zuma Bound

      Given what Scalia has said with respect to gay marriage, I think that he might just surprise all of us. I can only hope. But, I think that your concern is probably otherwise justified. Guess we’ll see.

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      • I would be inclined to agree, Zuma. But one can never tell with Scalia. After all, he, Thomas and Rehnquist were the dissenters in Lawrence v. Texas, and he wrote the dissent arguing that state sodomy laws enforced solely against homosexuals were perfectly fine.

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  • herbie's my hero

    Let me clarify my comment – I did not mean to be disrespectful of gays.

    FACT: Herb Kohl is gay so he really does not deserve praise for jumping no this bandwagon late.

    He should actually be shamed for standing down this long.

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    • In that case, I withdraw my earlier request, although I would say that if Senator Kohl is in the closet, that is his choice, and it really isn’t for anyone else to out him. I’m not familiar with any speculation that the senator is gay, and I don’t really care one way or the other. I just instinctively cringe when I see the word queen used in any context.

      And as to your point on shaming Kohl for standing down this long, as I explained earlier, the entire 104th Congress and President Clinton should be shamed for passing a bill which so obviously does not pass constitutional muster.

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