Wyden: Against DOMA since 1996

Kari Chisholm FacebookTwitterWebsite

With all the news of various Senators coming out in favor of marriage equality, it's worth noting that our own Senator Ron Wyden was one of just 14 Senators to oppose the Defense of Marriage Act when it was on the Senate floor in 1996. And he's just one of three of those still in the Senate (Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein are the other two.)

Update: A few folks have emailed, asking me to note how the rest of Oregon's congressional delegation voted. Congressman Peter DeFazio joined Wyden in voting against DOMA, while the rest of the delegation voted in favor. That included two Democrats, Elizabeth Furse and Earl Blumenauer - and two Republicans, Wes Cooley and Jim Bunn. Senator Mark Hatfield also supported DOMA on the Senate side. (Back in 2009, Blumenauer called the vote "the worst vote of my political career.")

Here's an excerpt of Wyden's floor speech back then:

One of the fundamental principles on which our nation was built is the freedom to enjoy life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The Constitution doesn't give Congress or the states the power to specifically exclude an individual or group of individuals from the enjoyment of life, liberty, or the pursuit of happiness. But this legislation would.

Is the legislation constitutional?

Where in the Constitution does it say "equal rights for all except those that the majority disagrees with"?

This bill is not only of dubious constitutionality it seems to me to be a repudiation of traditional conservatism. It's conservative, Madam President, to keep private conduct private. It's certainly conservative to promote monogamy. It's conservative to promote personal responsibility and commitment. This bill isn't conservative; it's Big Brother to the core.

My judgment is this is a subject the federal government ought not stick its nose into.

Here's the full video of his floor speech:

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