It was a historic day in the U.S. Senate as the Judiciary Committee heard arguments for and against the repeal of the "Defense of Marriage Act." Follow the jump for a transcript of Instinct's updates culled from the proceedings this morning.
10:10 a.m. EST (Rep. Nadler):
Rep. Nadler: No credible evidence opposite-sex couples raise healthier children
The Respect for Marriage Act will allow diversity in religion to remain free while respecting the rights of LGBT Americans.
Rep. Nadler wraps up, saying he looks forward to working with the Senate on passing the DOMA repeal legislation
10:18 (Sen. Chuck Grassley R-Iowa)
"I never thought I would have to defend traditional marriage. It's been the foundation of society for 6,000 years. Not only here, but around the world. It's what civilization was founded on."
A state that changes its definition of marriage should not be able to push its change onto other states.
Same-sex couples are not the only couples that face the issues we're going to hear about today from our witnesses, some of which could be addressed through other means than this particular legislation.
Sen. Grassley says, under oath, someone was willing to testify in support of DOMA but decided against it because she's scared for her safety. (Oh lord.)
10:25 (Witnesses begin to testify)
Ron Wallen is discussing his 60-year relationship with his late husband.
"Imagine, after 55 years together, the two of us were blubbering on our wedding day. Even on the day we avowed in sickness and in health we were already facing the worse because Tom was suffering from leukemia. Not a month went by when I was rushing him to the ER, but we were in it together.
"Since Tom died on March 8, I miss him terribly. Beyond the emptiness, my life has been thrown into financial turmoil because of DOMA. Like a lot of retirees, we've taken a big hit in the past few years.
"As you know, for married couples in this country, SS allows a widow or widower to claim a benefit of their spouse. That survivor's benefit is often what allows a widow or widower to stay in their home.
"But DOMA says gay or lesbian couples cannot get that same treatment. An added benefit would have done for me what it does for every straight spouse in America, yet I cannot depend on this benefit after 50 years with my spouse, simply because of DOMA. This is unfair, this is unjust."
10:35 (Focus on the Family's Tom Minnery)
67% of voters in states banning equality support "traditional marriage"
Same-sex marriage harms children
Other typical b.s. spouted off from homophobes
10:43 (Susan Murray of Vermont)
"By now, my life with my wife is completely intertwined" thanks to marriage equality in Vermont. "But we pay more federal taxes than necessary because of DOMA."
When I got sick, unlike other married coworkers Karen works with, Karen had to pay tax on her insurance for me.
As we get older, we're starting to worry about the financial difficulties we may face because SS laws don't provide us the same benefits as other couples.
10:50 (Judiciary Panel to begin asking witnesses questions)
Sen. Leahy to Susan: Why do you want marriage over a civil union?
Marriage is universal. Everyone understands it. The childhood I had caused me to believe in marriage, in its power to bind people, its importance to society. We both wanted to declare that publicaly. We wanted to be part of that world.
Sen. Leahy asks Focus on Family's Minnery: Are same-sex parents financially disadvantaged by DOMA?
Minnery: I'm not familiar enough with the law... (d-bag!)
Sen. Leahy: A yes or no answer, please!
Minnery: That would be a yes.
Sen. Whitehouse reading letters from Rhode Island same-sex couples affected harshly by DOMA
11:15 (Sen. Franken begins!)
Sen. Franken begins his testimony by blasting Minnery! Says he read the "report" he cited and found that his conclusion that kids raised by same-sex parents are harmed is flat out wrong.
Sen. Franken is a rock star!
Franken: How can we trust the rest of your testimony if you read studies this way, Mr. Minnery?
11:24 (Sen. Coons)
I'm a married man of faith with kids, but I don't think my faith should dictate who can love whom. DOMA needs to be repealed.
Coons: "My wedding ring and marriage didn't magically disappear just because NY passed a marriage bill last month."
11:33 (Sen. Blumenthal)
Sen. Blumenthal says DOMA repeal is about respecting CT law
11:40 (Final panel begins testimony)
HRC's Joe Solmonese starts testimony
Solmonese: DOMA unfairly splits up same-sex binational couples
Alliance Defense Fund's Austin Nimocks now speaking against repealing DOMA, saying doing so will harm children by creating "generic parents"
"This body should disavow any notion that repealing federal DOMA is a constitutional mandate."
(Hoping Sen. Franken gets to rip apart Nimocks's unscientific and bigoted testimony...)
Edward Whelan of Ethics & Public Policy Center brings up yes votes of Sens in the room when DOMA originally passed in 1996
Whelan says marriage equality would lead to taxpayers supporting polygamy. Fuzzy math much?
Evan Wolfson is up
12:03 p.m. EST
Wolfson: No place for second-class citizenship in the U.S.
Wolfson points out the overwhelming majority of support for equality is accelerating around the country
Wolfson: Even Bill Clinton, who approved DOMA, is now against it
12:06 (Sens begin asking final panel questions)
When asked about what effect DOMA repeal would have on the states, Whelan again brings up polygamy.
Whelan: What you and 86 of your fellow Sens understood in 1996 is that DOMA helps children.
Sen. Coons name-drops It Gets Better, says DOMA has other indirect effects, including encouraging discrimination.
Solmonese is expanding on Sen. Coons assumption that DOMA breeds bullying and discrimination, actually harms kids by leading to depression, suicide.
Sen. Schumer, who arrived moments ago to the hearing, begins incredible speech in support of repealing DOMA
Sen. Schumer ends with quote: The arc of history is long, but it bends with justice.
Hearing is adjourned.