Joe Sestak on Gay Marriage

Last Updated : Jul 01, 2010


Congressman Sestak has called for the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell," and compared the struggle to that of the civil rights when the armed forces was integrated.  He was a co-sponsor of legislation to give equal benefits to partners of LGBT federal employees, a co-sponsor of legislation to tax LGBT couples as married couples, and a co-sponsor of legislation to give medical leave to LGBT couples.  He called for the repeal of the defense of marriage act and supports civil unions.  However, he stopped of short of advocating for gay marriage and cited that it was a matter for the states and churches to decide.


CNN - October 2009

In a CNN interview with Wolf Blitzer, Congressman Sestak calls for the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" and compares the integration of LGBT people into the military to the integration of races.


Netroots Nation interview

In an August interview with Netroots Nation, Congressman Sestak stated his opposition to DOMA and his desire to repeal of don't ask, don't tell.


Rachel Maddow Appearance

In October 2009 appearance on the Rachel Maddow show, Congressman Sestak again noted his desire for the repeal of don't ask, don't tell.


Campaign Website Statements

Voting Record

Don't Ask, Don't Tell

In 2010, the House voted to overturn the policy of don't ask, don't tell. Joe Sestak voted in favor of repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

Joe Sestak voted in favor of repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell.


Sponsored and Cosponsored Legislation

Session-111; Bill Number-H R 1283; Military Readiness Enhancement Act of 2009 - Cosponsor

To amend title 10, United States Code, to enhance the readiness of the Armed Forces by replacing the current policy concerning homosexuality in the Armed Forces, referred to as "Don't Ask, Don't Tell", with a policy of nondiscrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

Session-111; Bill Number-H R 3567; Respect for Marriage Act of 2009 - Cosponsor

Amends the Defense of Marriage Act to repeal provisions allowing states, territories, possessions of the United States, or Indian tribes to give no effect to a public act, record, or judicial proceeding of any other such entity respecting a relationship between persons of the same sex that is treated as a marriage under that entity's laws or a right or claim arising from such relationship. Amends the federal rules of construction added by such Act concerning the definitions of "marriage" and "spouse" to provide that, for purposes of any federal law in which marital status is a factor, an individual shall be considered married if that individual's marriage is valid in the state where the marriage was entered into or, in the case of a marriage entered into outside any state, if the marriage is valid in the place where entered into and the marriage could have been entered into in a state.

Session-111; Bill Number-H R 2517; Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act of 2009 - Cosponsor

Provides that a federal employee and his or her domestic partner shall be entitled to benefits available to, and shall be subject to obligations imposed upon, a married federal employee and his or her spouse. Defines "domestic partner" to mean an adult unmarried person living with another adult unmarried person of the same sex in a committed, intimate relationship. Defines "benefits" to include federal health insurance and enhanced dental and vision benefits, retirement and disability benefits, family, medical, and emergency leave, group life insurance, long-term care insurance, compensation for work injuries, and benefits for disability, death, or captivity. Excludes members of the uniformed services from the definition of "employee."

Session-111; Bill Number-H R 6520; Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act of 2010 - Cosponsor

Provides for repeal of the current Department of Defense (DOD) policy concerning homosexuality in the Armed Forces, to be effective 60 days after the Secretary of Defense has received DOD's comprehensive review on the implementation of such repeal, and the President, Secretary, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) certify to the congressional defense committees that they have considered the report and proposed plan of action, that DOD has prepared the necessary policies and regulations to exercise the discretion provided by such repeal, and that implementation of such policies and regulations is consistent with the standards of military readiness and effectiveness, unit cohesion, and military recruiting and retention. Provides that, until such time as the above conditions are met, the current policy shall remain in effect.

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