Polis: I Will Attend the DNC Fund-raiser

Rep. Jared Polis skipped the president's Oval Office signing ceremony last week of an order extending some benefits to gay federal employees' same-sex partners, but he will attend the DNC fund-raiser Thursday. Polis discusses his rationale and the prospects for overturning "don't ask, don't tell" and DOMA.

BY Kerry Eleveld

June 23 2009 11:00 PM ET

In terms of DOMA, I know some of the leadership on the Hill was discussing a bill that would repeal section 3 of DOMA, which would allow the federal government to recognize gay marriages. What's on the horizon for DOMA repeal? I support a full repeal, but we'll certainly be wiling to negotiate any step in the right direction. As more states have same-sex marriage, it's become a more critical issue at the federal level as to how we treat those marriages. President Obama's recent announcement that they will count same-sex marriages for the purposes of the census was a small step in the right direction -- it means something in terms of data, it doesn't mean much to married couples. But I'm confident that if we keep chipping away at this, whether it's through the courts or legislatively, we can make sure that marriage is valid across all 50 states.

Do you anticipate any forthcoming DOMA repeal bill this year? Yes, I expect that there will be a bill this year. As I said, as more and more states allow same-sex marriage, it's becoming a critical issue for the federal government to act on.

What about "don't ask, don't tell" -- there's no Senate bill, there's no movement on the repeal bill that was dropped in the House earlier this year. What's the major holdup here? I'm very frustrated with "don't ask, don't tell." Congress will have a chance this week to end that policy as a part of the [Defense Department] reauthorization and I've offered a couple amendments on that topic. And yet the House Armed Services Committee hasn't held a markup on the current bill yet. Some of that is internal politics -- the lead sponsor of that bill, Ellen Tauscher, has been appointed to a White House post.

Again, there's an opportunity this week, and there will be another opportunity in a couple weeks with the Defense appropriations bill to simply remove funding for the discharge operation. The reauthorization bill sets up the rules and laws for the Department of Defense and the appropriations bill funds Defense. Both of them present opportunities to end "don't ask, don't tell." So there's ample opportunity and we just need a commitment from our leadership to get it done and it will get done.

On the bill this week, I've offered an amendment that would suspend investigations of "don't ask, don't tell."

Any traction on that? We had a letter go to President Obama -- and 77 members of Congress signed on -- that basically asked for something very similar to what my amendment proposes, which is a suspension of the investigations under "don't ask, don't tell." So it's not a full repeal, but it would give Congress some breathing room and give the Armed Services Committee some time to do this the right way.

[Update: In the Rules Committee, Representative Polis offered his amendment to suspend investigations and then withdrew it, as is common practice when an amendment does not have enough votes to pass a committee vote.]

Tags: Politics

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