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Why aren’t all members of NY delegation now sponsoring DOMA repeal?

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As we all know by now, marriages in New York start on July 24th. The vote to allow marriage crossed party lines and had strong support from voters across a wide array of demographics. This marks a great step forward. But, those newly married couples won't have federal benefits because of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA.)

There is an obvious way for New York members of Congress to stick up for their constituents: cosponsor DOMA repeal legislation.

The state's two Senators, Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, are co-sponsors of the Senate bill, S. 598, which was introduced by Senator Feinstein. Via Adam Bink, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold its hearing on DOMA repeal on July 20th.

But, not all the members of the House from New York are supporting Rep. Nadler's bill, H.R. 1116: The Respect for Marriage Act. At this point, even opponents of marriage have to acknowledge that married, same-sex New Yorkers will face discrimination under federal law. So, last Wednesday, I started calling the NY House members who weren't co-sponsors of H.R. 1116 to see if their support had evolved.

First, the good news: Reps. Kathy Hochul and Bill Owens are now co-sponsors of H.R. 1116.

Now, the not-so-good news: One Democrat and all the NY House GOPers are still not co-sponsoring the repeal bill. The one Democrat is Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D). She votes the right way on LGBT equality legislation, so not sure why she isn't on board. For whatever reason, her office never gave me an answer and never called me back. (I've only known Carolyn for 17 years, having working with her in the gun violence prevention issue since before she was even a candidate.)

No surprise, however, I never heard back from the seven GOPers in the NY delegation. But, there might be some hope for at least two NY Republicans. Last week, only six GOP House members voted against Virginia Foxx's inane DOMA bill. Two of the six were New York freshmen Republicans: Representatives Richard Hanna and Nan Hayworth. Seems they kinda outed themselves as either pro-gay -- or at least not typical GOP homophobes -- with that vote. Hopefully, their next step will be to co-sponsor H.R. 1116.

As for the others Republicans, seems we may be dealing with typical GOP homophobes. Although, Rep. Chris Gibson represents the Hudson Valley, which has a large LGBT population. Also, his district includes much of Senator Steve Saland's district -- Saland is one of the four GOPers who voted yes on marriage. And, Rep. Michael Grimm represents NYC (Staten Island and part of Brooklyn.)

Currently, there are no GOP co-sponsors of either the House or Senate DOMA repeal bills.

Here are the members of the New York delegation who are not co-sponsors of H.R. 1116. Seems like it would be a nice wedding present for those New Yorkers who are getting married if all of the NY delegation showed its opposition to the federal discrimination in DOMA. If your member is on this list, urge them to cosponsor H.R. 1116:

Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-4): 202-225-5516

Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle (R-25): 202-225-3701

Rep. Chris Gibson (R-20): 202-225-5614

Rep. Michael Grimm (R-13): 202-225-3371

Rep. Richard Hanna (R-24): 202-225-3665

Rep. Nan Hayworth (R-19): 202-225-5441

Rep. Peter King (R-3): 202-225-7896

Rep. Tom Reed (R-29): 202-225-3161
They've still got time to show their support for their constituents, but July 24th is approaching fast.

And, we'll also be checking to see which other Senate and House members are, either tacitly or purposefully, discriminating against their constituents. More on that soon.

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