If the Democrat-controlled Senate follows the lead of its Judiciary Committee with a party line vote to repeal the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), then the GOP-controlled House will certainly not do likewise. Quite the opposite. Too bad Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid didn’t work to move DOMA repeal out of committee when the Democrats controlled both chambers, including the Senate with a filibuster-proof supermajority.
Yes, there’s politics afoot. DOMA repeal has no chance, but a Senate vote would galvanize gay voters—and precisely because it has no chance of being enacted, it won’t unleash a broad reaction against the Democrats in socially conservative swing states, the fear of which kept Reid from moving on DOMA repeal when it actually might have made its way to Obama’s desk. Pretty neat, eh.
The wild card is a potential U.S. Supreme Court ruling, which might at least repeal the DOMA clause prohibiting the federal government from recognizing state-sanctioned same-sex marriages. Such a move would infuriate social conservatives, but it also wouldn’t please a lot of Democratic strategists hoping the issue stays below the radar of swing state voters.
More. Yes, I realize the GOP now could and probably will filibuster repeal in the Senate, but the point still holds. The Democrats only bring it up when it has no chance of actually passing.