By Daniel Marcin
In February, I heard John Dingell respond to a question about same-sex marriage. His response was that on this topic, his “views are still evolving.” This language mirrors the language that we used to hear from the President. However, this is where the similarity stops. We can legitimately guess that President Obama merely shied away from equal rights due to political posturing; there is a frequently-cited 1996 interview where Obama clearly and unequivocally embraces same-sex marriage. But in that same year, John Dingell voted to pass the shameful Defense of Marriage Act.
John Dingell continues to support the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and makes no apology. As a result, same-sex couples who have marriages recognized in their home states are not eligible for equal rights in the eyes of the federal government. Never mind that DOMA is clearly unconstitutional; the Full Faith and Credit Clause of Article IV requires states to recognize the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state. But DOMA lets states choose whether to recognize the same-sex marriages valid in other states. The Constitution can not be overruled with statute.
A bill pending in Congress for four years now would repeal DOMA. This bill, the Respect for Marriage Act, corrects the inequitable and unconstitutional provisions of DOMA; it ensures that any person considered married in one of the states is considered married by the federal government. This bill has 144 cosponsors in the House. It has support from one Republican representative. It even has the support of Bob Barr, the author of the Defense of Marriage Act. It has the support of four of Michigan’s six Democratic representatives in Congress. But it does not have the support of our representative, John Dingell. Dingell is the only Democratic representative in Michigan running for reelection who does not support the Respect for Marriage Act.
John Dingell does not need a 30th term to continue to oppose equal rights for all U.S. citizens. He has shown stubbornness on reversing himself on this issue. As his Democratic primary opponent, I pledge now to not paint him as a flip-flopper if he does change his mind and throw his support behind DOMA repeal. But if he does not change his position, I hope that you will join me in voicing your opposition in the upcoming primary election.