Supporters Of Gay Marriage Reelected; Pols Stand Against DOMA And Hold On To Their Seats

November 06, 1996

The anti-gay, political ploy known as the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) proved a failure against those members of congress who refused to take the bait. All 61 House members up for reelection who opposed the anti-gay marriage bill were victorious. John Kerry, the one Senator voting against DOMA and up for reelection yesterday, also held onto his seat.

DOMA, introduced in Congress in July and signed by the President under the cover of darkness in September, was characterized by gay activists, Congressional leaders, and even President Clinton, as an election year ploy by right-wing members of Congress. The President and many members of Congress who endorsed DOMA justified their support by claiming DOMA a political arm twisting not of their doing. Yesterday's results prove such justification unfounded.

"The victory of all congressmembers up for reelection who voted against DOMA proves that principle pays," stated Kerry Lobel, NGLTF executive director designate. "DOMA succeeded not because it actually posed a threat to the reelection of normally fair-minded congressmembers, but because they took the bait."

"We hope that President Clinton and the leadership of the Congress will take this lesson to heart: Even in an election year, they can stand up for democracy and fairness. Scapegoating gays, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people doesn't pay," added Lobel.

Notably, even those members who knew they were going to be in tight races and still stood up against this gay baiting were not hurt politically. "These courageous and principled congressmembers proved that a vote against discrimination is not a losing vote," stated Lobel.

(For a list of congressmembers who opposed DOMA, contact NGLTF's Helen Gonzales at 202-332-6483, ext. 3236, or Tracey Conaty, ext. 3303.)


The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community from the ground up. We do this by training activists, organizing broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and by building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.