BY Advocate Contributors
April 11 2011 3:00 AM ET
In March, House Democrats reintroduced legislation to repeal DOMA, accompanied by a first-ever companion bill in the Senate, sponsored by a healthy coterie of senators including Dianne Feinstein of California, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, and Patrick Leahy of Vermont, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. (Be on the lookout for the Senate’s first hearing on the issue, should legislators put some muscle behind the bill.) Though the DOMA repeal bill doesn’t stand a chance in the Republican-controlled House, its introduction is nevertheless an important step toward equality.
What’s yet to be seen is whether President Obama will mitigate the harmful, everyday effects of a 15-year-old legislative mistake. “The administration took a middle-road position by acknowledging DOMA’s unconstitutionality but continuing to enforce it until the courts or Congress invalidate or repeal it,” Pizer says. “And yet there likely are many situations in which the administration legitimately can and should reduce the harmful effects of DOMA. We already have seen some examples, and I believe we will see more in the coming months.”