A House Democrat will introduce a bill on Tuesday to repeal the infamous Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), but he will not have the support of one of the law's biggest critics.
The latest effort to revise federal marriage guidelines comes from Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), the chairman of the House's subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights & Civil Liberties, which oversees DOMA. His proposal, which he will unveil at a press conference next week, will include a provision to allow same-sex couples in one state to marry elsewhere, return home and still receive federal benefits.
Nadler has already secured the support of two congressmen -- Reps. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Jared Polis (D-Colo.), who will co-sponsor his effort. Not among the bill's primary sponsors, however, is Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), the chamber's longest-serving, openly gay lawmaker.
"It's not anything that's achievable in the near term," Frank told The Washington Blade. "I think getting [employee non-discrimination], a repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' and full domestic partner benefits for federal employees will take up all of what we can do and maybe more in this Congress."
Frank also expressed skepticism as to whether the bill's signature feature -- extending marriage benefits to couples whose states do not permit gay marriage -- was even politically feasible, claiming it would create "political problems."
Nadler, however, was not swayed by Frank's lukewarm reaction.
"Mr. Frank knows better than anyone that our opponents will falsely claim that any DOMA repeal bill 'exports marriage' in an effort to generate fear and misunderstanding," Nadler said in a statement provided to the newspaper. "But the dishonest tactics of our opponents should not stop us from aggressively pushing to end this horrific discrimination now, as is the consensus of the nation's top LGBT groups who all support this approach."