Joe Mirabella

Senator Patty Murray Announces her Support for the Repeal of DOMA

Filed By Joe Mirabella | February 25, 2011 8:30 AM | comments

Filed in: The Movement
Tags: DOMA, Don't Ask Don't Tell, GSBA

I was at the Greater Seattle Business Association Business (the GSBA) and Humanitarian awards dinner on Thursday night. patty-murray.jpgI am on the board, and this is one of our annual dinners where we recognize business and community leaders for their outstanding contributions to social justice. It was an incredibly moving experience to see so many community leaders coming together to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the country's largest LGBT Chamber of Commerce.

Senator Patty Murray was the keynote speaker. Before she spoke I introduced myself. We talked about the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell signing ceremony. I told her how amazing it was to witness to signing. She said, "I go to a lot of these signings, but that one is something I will never forget. The energy there was different. It was amazing."

Later in the evening the Senator took the stage to award Tutta Bella Pizzeria owner Joe Fugere with the Business of the Year award. After she presented the award, she gave an outstanding speech that I regret not recording in its entirety. She spoke about the significance of the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and the passage of hate crimes legislation. And then she spoke about the President's order to the Department of Justice to stop defending section 3 of DOMA. With the audience on their feet, I finally hit record on my phone and captured this video.

This is the first time the Senator has gone on the record to say she was going to fight for the repeal of DOMA, a bill she voted for. No doubt, she is looking forward to finally shaking that vote from her record by helping DOMA fall. She has been an amazing ally in recent history, and I believe her when she says she is going to fight for us.

Later in the evening Major Margaret Witt received the Voice of Social Justice award. It was presented by Col. Grethe Cammermeyer. The Colonel had the audience in tears as she recounted how vindicated she felt when DADT's repeal was signed. It was incredibly moving to see both Major Witt and Grethe Cammermeyer on stage together.

It is impossible to deny, we are at a turning point in our history. We are going to have to fight harder than ever before to finish that turn, but I have no doubt that we will be celebrating the end of DOMA in the near future the way we can celebrate the end of DADT now.

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I was part of a small handful of GLBT leaders who met with Sen. Murray personally to lobby her on the original DOMA vote, and I can't tell you how frustrating and disheartening that meeting was. It's the only meeting I've ever had with an elected official that I came away from convinced she *really* didn't understand the issue. And we explained it 900 ways to Sunday and got absolutely nowhere. Not even a glimmer that she got what we were talking about.

Ever since then, I've been a grudging supporter, in lieu of any other acceptable option. So this new stance is a pleasant, if unexpected, surprise. It would be nice not to be quite so grudging in the future.

Sweet! How many of these legislators are slowly returning to sanity and rejecting anti-lgbt acts now? Not as politically expedient either, but just as the wrong thing to do.

the "voice of social justice" award seems like a weird concept to me.