The New York Times
Another Test of
From the Web, October
Senator Patrick Leahy, the chairman
of the Senate Judiciary Committee, took a step toward true equality for all
Americans last week by planning a vote next month on whether to repeal the law
that bars the federal government from recognizing lawfully performed marriages
between same-sex couples.
Mr. Leahyís committee held a hearing on the Defense of Marriage Act in July, the
first since Congress passed a bill 15 years ago that defined marriage as limited
to a man and a woman and President Bill Clinton signed that mean-spirited
constitutional affront into law.
The repeal bill has 28 co-sponsors, in addition to Mr. Leahy and the billís
chief sponsor, Senator Dianne Feinstein of California ó all of them Democrats.
It stands a good chance of passing the committee, where Democrats outnumber
Republicans 10 to 8.
Even if it passed, mustering the 60 votes needed to overcome an expected
Republican-led filibuster would be hard, and the billís immediate prospects in
the Republican-controlled House seem even more dim.
But it was not that long ago that repeal of the discriminatory law that
prevented gay and lesbian troops from serving openly in the military seemed a
Meanwhile, several promising legal challenges to marriage law are percolating in
the courts. An intriguing new case filed by a disabled Navy veteran with a
same-sex spouse will test its constitutionality in the special federal court
that handles veterans benefits.
Congress should not need court rulings to recognize the violation of equal
protection inherent in the antimarriage act, and should repeal it.