As the Defense of Marriage Act comes before the U.S. Supreme Court, a former supporter of the legislation is announcing a change of heart and calling for its repeal.
I’m talking about West Virginia’s own Sen. Jay Rockefeller. The Daily Mail received a statement from the senior senator just moments ago.
“Like so many of my generation, my views on allowing gay couples to marry have been challenged in recent years by a new, more open generation.
“Churches and ministers should never have to perform marriages that violate their religious beliefs but the government shouldn’t discriminate against people who want to marry just because of their gender.
“Younger people in West Virginia and even my own children have grown up in a much more equal society and they rightly push us to question old assumptions. To think deeply about what it means for all Americans to be created equal. This has been a process for me, but at this point I think it’s clear that DOMA is discriminatory.
“I’m against discrimination in all its forms and I think we can move forward in our progress toward true equality by repealing DOMA.”
Rockefeller voted for the Defense of Marriage Act when it passed in 1996. He voted against a 2004 constitutional amendment to define marriage as a union of “one man and one woman,” but issued a statement making it clear he did not support gay marriage.
“Like many West Virginians, I strongly believe in the sanctity of marriage as a union solely between one man and one woman. I also know that this definition of marriage is already fully protected by West Virginia and federal law. A constitutional amendment is not needed to protect the sanctity of marriage, and in fact could challenge West Virginia’s own states’ rights.
“I have heard from many West Virginians who are worried about morality in America. They want to be sure that marriage is protected for themselves and for their children. I myself am not comfortable with same-sex marriage, and I want to assure every West Virginian that our definition of marriage – and our right to define marriage as we believe it — is not in jeopardy.
“In 1996, I voted for the Defense of Marriage Act. That federal law specifically defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman. It also prohibits any state from imposing an alternate definition of marriage on any other state. In 2000, West Virginia passed its own law defining marriage as between a man and a woman. This is the law of the land.”