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Gejdenson's brave DOMA 'no' vote in '96

Jon Lenzner Washington, DC Editor's note: Mr. Lenzner was the press secretary for Sam Gejdenson.

Publication: The Day

Published 06/30/2013 12:00 AM
Updated 06/29/2013 11:03 PM

The Supreme Court decision on marriage equality this past week reminds us of a Connecticut angle that many have forgotten.

In 1996, in the heat of the campaign season, House Republicans brought the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) up for a vote. Then-U.S. Rep. Sam Gejdenson of the Second District was the only one of Connecticut's six representatives to vote against what was described at the time as "legislative gay bashing."

Sam had won the 1994 election by only 21 votes and many of his advisors urged him to vote for the bill, particularly after President Clinton announced his support for it.

Rather than taking the easy political path and voting for the bill, Sam stood on principle and voted no, disregarding the negative political consequences.

Many of us on his staff were never prouder of being on Sam's team than on that day, and the Supreme Court decision only affirms the legal justification behind Sam's principled vote.

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