Democratic politician announces his new position on marriage

Former supporter of the Defense for Marriage Act changes mind and supports marriage equality

Democratic politician announces his new position on marriage
26 May 2012

In the 1990s, when he was a congressman in the House of Representatives, Tom Barrett voted for the Defense of Marriage Act. Barrett, a Democrat, is now running against Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker in the US mid-western state’s recall election. In a recent debate, the Milwaukee mayor was asked if he would sign a civil unions bill if it passed the state’s legislature.

‘I believe in marriage equality,’ said Barrett as reported by Talking Points Memo. ‘It is an issue where opinions have evolved. And for younger people in particular, they understand the need to respect relationships. I do respect them.’

Known as DOMA, the federal law defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman. No state is required to accept gay marriages from other states, and same-sex unions are not recognized by the federal government. This  means insurance benefits for government employees, Social Security survivors’ benefits, and the filing of joint tax returns do not apply to gay couples.  President Bill Clinton signed DOMA in 1996 September. 

Ever since President Barack Obama described his eventual evolution to marriage equality, a number of politicians are following his lead. Polls show more and more American citizens support protection for gay families. Pew Research, reported in April, that  ‘since 2004, there has been a broad-based decline in opposition – including strong opposition –to gay marriage.’

Despite the numbers, gay marriage continues to lose at the ballot box. In early May, North Carolina voters overwhelmingly went for Amendment One. The south-eastern state’s  constitution now bans civil unions and same-sex marriages.

HAVE YOUR SAY

MORE TOP STORIES

No thumbnail available

Bisexual teen dad hanged himself in woods

English 16-year-old was found dead after he was the victim of homophobic bullying at school for over two years
No thumbnail available

Ugandan newspaper welcomes looming foreign aid cuts

The editor of Uganda’s largest independent newspaper says most foreign aid is just absorbed by corrupt officials and has only lead to greater corruption and government unaccountability in Uganda
No thumbnail available

How does that statue make you feel?

Embracing my agalmatophilia while admiring the statues of London.
No thumbnail available

‘I wish I were more authentic within the team at BP’

Lord Browne speaks with Maxine Williams, the global head of diversity at Facebook
No thumbnail available

Barney Frank confirms gay marriage will be part of Democratic Party Platform

Openly gay US congressman: 'We are including marriage equality with my full support'
No thumbnail available

Video of kids singing ‘Vogue’ goes viral

From the underground gay scene in New York in 1990 to a kindergarten class in Los Angeles in 2012
California Governor signs law making it easier for trans people to update ID documents

California Governor signs law making it easier for trans people to update ID documents

Removes barriers for changing name and gender marker on legal identification
No thumbnail available

Copenhagen bar sorry for kicking out two kissing men

Cafe Funke in Copenhagen, Denmark, apologizes for throwing out two gay men and promises to re-educate security staff
No thumbnail available

Vote on gay marriage fails in first Australian state

A bill to legalize same-sex marriage in the Australian state of New South Wales has failed in a narrow vote of 19 to 21
No thumbnail available

Simon Cowell: ‘I wish I was born gay’

Music mogul said he would have saved a 'fortune' if he had dated men instead of women