One by one, the Courage Campaign, with the help of key supporters, is on its way to getting 60 votes to repeal DOMA – once and for all
It’s now clear that U.S. Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico not only saw the writing on his Facebook wall, but he heeded it as well becoming the 24th senator to co-sponsor legislation that would repeal the odious “Defense of Marriage Act” which takes away rights from committed, same-sex couples.
In less than one week, nearly 100 messages were left on Sen. Udall’s Facebook wall urging him to co-sponsor repeal of DOMA. This comes after Cleve Jones, senior advisor to the Courage Campaign and founder of the AIDS memorial quilt, and marriage equality advocates delivered more than 1,000 messages from New Mexicans to Udall and Sen. Jeff Bingaman in Albuquerque two weeks ago. The messages were gathered jointly by the 700,000 member Courage Campaign, in partnership with its sister organization ProgressNow New Mexico (both are part of the ProgressNow Action Network) and Democracy for New Mexico, a popular state political blog.
Today, Udall responded with a video announcing he will support repeal of DOMA.
“Sen. Udall becomes the 24th co-sponsor of the Respect for Marriage Act and we’re grateful for his support, but we’re still waiting for Sen. Bingaman to get on board,” said Courage Campaign Founder and Chair Rick Jacobs. “Sen. Bingaman, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by joining us. Polls show that more than 50% of Americans support marriage equality and every American respects someone who stands for their principles, so we look forward to signing you on."
Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California introduced the Respect for Marriage Act, with the support of the Courage Campaign, in March of this year. It would repeal DOMA and allow legally married same-sex couples, no matter where they reside, to have access to the over 1,000 federal benefits currently denied to committed same-sex couples. Earlier in the campaign, Senators Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Herb Kohl of Wisconsin, gave the bill a boost – 22 cosponsors and the 10 votes it needs to pass the Senate Judiciary Committee. And long time friend of LGBT equality and progressive hero Sen. Sherrod Brown signed up two weeks ago, bringing the total to 25.
“As a fellow westerner who grew up in Arizona, I want to thank Senator Udall for really listening to his constituents,” said Cleve Jones, a protégé of Harvey Milk’s and the force behind the 2009 National Equality March. “Over the last century, the Udall family has been fighting to make life better for generations of ordinary Americans living in the Southwest. The proud legacy of this family is their tradition of fairness and service and I’m thrilled to see that continuation of service with Tom Udall.”
Barbara Wold and Mary Ellen Broderick, New Mexico residents together for many years, were both present when the messages were hand-delivered.
“Barb and I are pleased that Sen. Udall signed on to co-sponsor this bill and repeal DOMA,” said Mary Ellen Broderick. “In the video, he lays out a common sense case why we should have the same rights under the Constitution as other couples. We sincerely hope that his doing so will prompt other senators to join him, including Senator Jeff Bingaman.”