In an interview with DC Agenda (formerly the Washington Blade), Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) did not expect to take up his “Respect for Marriage Act” until 2011, after other LGBT-focused legislation had been voted on, including the ENDA, DADT and UAFA.
“The Respect for Marriage Act comes up after that, maybe at the end of the next Congress, maybe afterward,” he [Nadler] said.
Nadler’s legislation would overturn DOMA, allowing the federal government to recognize same-sex marriages. It also has a “certainty provision” that would allow same-sex couples to marry in one state and still receive federal benefits even if they move to another state where gay nuptials aren’t recognized.
In lieu of passage in this Congress, Nadler said the task for supporters is to find more co-sponsors for the bill. As of Tuesday, the bill had 105 co-sponsors. Nadler predicted support would grow.
“And I think if some of these other bills pass, it’ll become more — the idea becomes less avant garde,” he said.
Nadler also introduced the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA) earlier this year, which would allow gays and lesbians to sponsor their foreign-born partners for citizenship, and is pushing for that legislation to be a part of larger immigration reform in 2010.
“I don’t know what the final comprehensive immigration reform will look like, but I remain optimistic that it will include lesbian and gay families,” he said.
In the event that comprehensive immigration reform legislation doesn’t include UAFA when it debuts, Nadler said he’s working on making sure there are votes in the House Judiciary Committee to amend the bill to include such a provision.
Nadler said he’s “hopeful” there will be enough votes for an amendment, but added “that’ll be a big fight, if necessary.”
“I haven’t taken any votes or whip counts or done any kind of that work, but certainly it will be something that we’ll have to work at and the gay community and everybody will have to be pressuring the individual members of the committee,” Nadler said. “A lot of the members of the committee, the Democratic members especially, say they’re very great friends with the gay community … and this’ll be an opportunity to show that they are, bar none.”
When asked if he would support immigration reform without a UAFA or similar provision, Nadler reponded “I hope it doesn’t come to that.”
So do we.