Editor’s Note: I found this on Facebook and am sharing – find out more about U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein and her long-standing work for the LGBT community. She was one of those who did NOT vote for DOMA when it went through Congress before President Clinton’s signature made it law in 1996. Now she is helping us with her legislation Respect for Marriage Act. Let’s help her fight for LGBT binational families and help her get re-elected to the U.S. Senate! Thanks. You can donate online at this link:
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Go to Senator Feinstein’s Facebook page at this link:
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Desert Outlook – One of the top issues in the busy 2012 political year is shaping up to be the effort to repeal DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act. And leading the repeal fight is California’s senior U.S. Senator, Dianne Feinstein.
DOMA, passed in 1996, and signed by President Bill Clinton, prohibits federal recognition of gay and lesbian marriages.
Feinstein’s fight is a part of a tidal wave against DOMA. In February, a federal judge ruled DOMA is unconstitutional, the third such federal ruling against DOMA in two years. Also in February there was a U.S. Court of Appeals decision striking down California’s ban on samesex marriage. But Sen. Feinstein isn’t waiting for the courts to work through the appeals process. Instead, she is pressing to have DOMA repealed in Congress.
In an exclusive interview with Desert Outlook, Feinstein said her fight goes back to DOMA’s beginning.
“This isn’t new to me,” she said, “I was one of 14 to vote against DOMA 15 years ago. Essentially, what DOMA does is discrimination.”
She said because of DOMA there are more than 1,100 federal rights and benefits that are denied to married gay and lesbian couples, which are given to their straight counterparts.
Indeed, DOMA denies federal rights and benefits to legally married same-sex couples. Those couples can’t inherit Social Security benefits from a deceased partner, they can’t file joint federal income taxes (missing out on many deductions), and they can’t take unpaid leave under the federal Family Medical Leave Act.
Feinstein mentioned a local Coachella Valley case that came up at her hearings to repeal DOMA as an example of discrimination.
“Indio’s Ron Wallen testified that he and his husband had been together 58 years when his husband died. Wallen couldn’t inherit his husband’s Social Security and so he lost their house.”
Feinstein’s move to repeal DOMA coincides with shifting public opinion on the issue and on gay marriage in general – opinion that has changed dramatically since 1996. The most recent poll from Greenburg Quinlan Rosner (done in March 2011) found that 51 percent of Americans now oppose DOMA. That figure is in line with the most recent Gallup Poll on gay marriage (done in May 2011), which finds, for the first time, a majority of Americans, 53 percent, favor legal same-sex marriage.
Against that backdrop, Feinstein was able to pass a repeal of DOMA in the Senate Judiciary Committee this past November. Now she is trying to get more colleagues on board to bring it to the full Senate, then to the House.
For the full article in Desert Outlook go to this link:
In related news, check out this Washington Blade article from March 2, 2012, about Senator Feinstein and others who want a same-sex marriage plank in the Democratic Party platform for the 2012 federal election. Go to
And, as usual, I have my sign-off message…
Immigration Equality, Out4Immigration and Love Exiles Foundation are the three groups working on our issue – and the three groups who receive whatever money comes in from sales of my book, Torn Apart: United by Love, Divided by Law, Findhorn Press, 2011.
My newer project, with David W. Ross, whose new film “I Do: The Movie” will be out in June 2012, is a portrait project of LGBT binational families, United by Love, Divided by Law Portrait Project. It expands the reach of my book and will keep adding portraits as we find couples and funds to add more. We will hold events to assist the work being done for our families by Lavi Soloway and Stop the Deportations – The DOMA Project. Check out the site at
and see the Facebook page at
To follow Torn Apart: United by Love, Divided by Law, go to its Facebook page at:
Read an excerpt of my book at this link: http://bit.ly/eIyGxh
Order online from the publisher at this link:
Elizabeth Gilbert wrote the foreword to my book. She is an ally in our fight and has suffered from the immigration situation herself as part of a binational relationship. Though she and her boyfriend were able to marry, they know what the drill was and they advocate for LGBT binational families. We like that!
Remember, too, you can follow me and what I am doing and thinking and reading on twitter @tornapartbook