Reposted from The Huffington Post:
WASHINGTON — It has been 16 years since Kathryn Lehman was a Republican Hill staffer working on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the federal law that defines marriage as between one man and one woman.
Now Lehman’s back on Capitol Hill, in a new capacity: as a lesbian GOP lobbyist trying to repeal the law she helped write.
The most interesting part of this profile piece that I read was the “quiet” support for repealing DOMA:
Lehman has already met with a couple dozen Republican lawmakers’ offices to make her DOMA repeal pitch: that she helped to write DOMA, that people at the time didn’t really know the impact the law was going to have, that all it’s done is hurt gay families and not threaten marriage for anyone else. She wouldn’t reveal which lawmakers she’s met with, but she said they all listen and some have told her privately that they support repealing DOMA but don’t feel comfortable saying so publicly because they’re worried about getting re-elected in November. In that same vein, others say that before they consider going out on a limb on the issue, they want to wait to see what their districts look like after congressional redistricting.
While the above statement makes me angry on one level, what it makes me ask is how can we as a community help make it safe for legislators such as those mentioned above to support us outright. I do have hope that after 2012 there will be much greater support for LGBT people, but I do realize that there will be still those who are afraid to speak up. What can we do to help them come out of the closet with their full and vocal support?