It was a long-sought victory for Rep. Jerry Nadler.
Earlier this month, the House approved his Respect for Marriage Act to enshrine federal protections for same-sex couples.
Nadler had been introducing the legislation for 13 years, targeting a decades-old law defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
“I went into politics because I never lost my childhood predisposition to say, ‘But that isn’t fair,’” Nadler said of his advocacy for the bill.
What You Need To Know
- Earlier this month, the House approved Rep. Nadler's Respect for Marriage Act to enshrine federal protections for same-sex couples – a bill he first introduced in 2009
- Nadler is in the fight for his political life back home, battling a fellow veteran Democrat and committee chair in next month’s primary in New York's 12th Congressional District
- Nadler chairs the House Judiciary Committee, where he has ushered through bills reforming gun laws, decriminalizing marijuana, and protecting same-sex marriage
Forty-seven House Republicans voted ‘yes’ on the bill, including all but one GOP member from New York.
Nadler told NY1 he could not have imagined that many Republicans supporting the legislation when he first introduced it back in 2009.
“The zeitgeist wasn’t there,” he said.
The bill’s fate in the Senate is unclear. Ten Republican ‘yes’ votes are needed to send it to the president’s desk. Nadler urged Republicans on the fence to do “the right thing.”
This legislative win comes as Nadler is in the fight for his political life back home, battling a fellow veteran Democrat and committee chair in next month’s primary in the heart of Manhattan.
Following New York’s redistricting shakeup, Nadler will face off against Rep. Carolyn Maloney in the 12th District primary.
Maloney, a fellow Democrat who has, like Nadler, been in Congress for roughly three decades, also has a lengthy history on LGBTQ issues. She fought for domestic partnerships as a city councilwoman and cosponsored Nadler’s Respect for Marriage bill back in 2009.
“She may very well have been among the original cosponsors,” Nadler said. “I would simply say that I’m the one who’s taken the lead for all these years.”
Nadler chairs the House Judiciary Committee, where he has ushered through bills reforming gun laws, decriminalizing marijuana, and protecting same-sex marriage.He has also called for adding justices to the U.S. Supreme Court.
“That bill to increase the size of the Supreme Court was considered very radical — way out — when it was introduced. It’s not considered so radical now,” he said.
Regarding Jan. 6, Nadler said it is hard to know if the U.S. Justice Department is being aggressive enough in investigating Donald Trump’s efforts as president to overturn the 2020 election. That is because, Nadler says, so much of the department’s work is done behind closed doors.
As for the former president, he is far more definitive, arguing that Donald Trump should be charged, Nalder said.
“You have to show that no one is above the law, as the Attorney General said,” Nadler said.
As for his own re-election bid, Nadler pushed back on his primary competitors.
On Maloney’s assertion that a man cannot be sent to do a woman’s job, Nadler said he would put his record on women’s rights up against anybody.
In response to challenger Suraj Patel’s call for new blood, he argued his 30-year tenure and his chairmanship give New York a lot of clout on Capitol Hill.