From the Washington Blade: New support for legislation that would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act assures that the necessary votes are in place for a favorable Senate committee vote on the measure as advocates maintain hearings should take place first before advancing the bill.
Last week, the Respect of Marriage Act, legislation sponsored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein that would repeal the 1996 anti-gay law that prohibits federal recognition of same-sex marriage, gained two additional co-sponsors: Sens. Tom Harkin of Iowa and Herb Kohl of Wisconsin.
Kohl’s support for the legislation is critical because he’s a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and would have a vote when the roll is called to move the legislation to the floor. Lynn Becker, a Kohl spokesperson, said the senator had previously considered DOMA a state issue.
Meanwhile, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), another member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has also said she’d vote for repeal of DOMA in committee, although she’s stopped short of co-sponsoring the legislation. Last month, the Minnesota Independent reported that the senator would back the Respect for Marriage Act.
In a statement provided to the Washington Blade, Klobuchar confirmed that legislation to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act has her support.
“I would vote to repeal this law because I believe same-sex couples and their families should have access to the same basic rights, including hospital visitation and survivor benefits,” Klobuchar said.
The support from Kohl and Klobuchar means that the Respect for Marriage Act has at least 10 votes in the Senate Judiciary Committee — enough to advance the bill to the Senate floor.
Obstacles still exist for the legislation since the bill must first pass out of the Judiciary committee then head to the floor of the Senate where, to avoid a filibuster, Democrats would have to have 7 Republicans support the bill. At this time, not one Republican has announced support.