The 1996 DOMA Debate Revisited

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Yesterday, I wrote that the Senate Judiciary hearings to repeal DOMA (the Defense of Marriage Act) included nothing new -- except the context, which is completely different. To get a sense of how different things were in 1996, check out some video excerpts from that year's debate posted at ThinkProgress. Ah, the memories!

ThinkProgress's Igor Volsky pulled out some of the choice quotes, for your delectation:

- REP. TOM COBURN (R-OK): "And there are studies to say that over 43 percent of all people who profess homosexuality have greater than 500 partners."

- REP. BOB BARR (R-GA): "It is part of a deliberate, coldly calculated power move to confront the basic social institutions on which our country not only was founded, but has prospered, and will continue to prosper."

- SEN. TRENT LOTT (R-MS): "To force upon our communities the legal recognition of same sex marriage would be social engineering beyond anything in the American experience."

It was all quite a different scene than the one yesterday, in which a stream of Democratic Senators and Congressmen praised the bravery, commitment, and love of married same-sex couples, and exposed the misleading statistics of the antigay witnesses.

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E.J. Graff, a resident scholar at the Brandeis Women's Studies Research Center, is a contributing editor and daily columnist at The American Prospect and the author of What Is Marriage For? The Strange Social History of Our Most Intimate Institution.

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