Senator Says Defense of Marriage Act ‘On Wrong Side of History,’ Joins LGBT Video

By Katie Bell | July 1, 2011 | 12:58 PM EDT

( – Thirteen U.S. senators who oppose the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) participated in a video for the pro-homosexual “It Gets Better” project, in which they encourage lesbian and gay youth to persevere and be optimistic about the future. In discussing the release of the video on Wednesday, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said, “DOMA, folks, is on the wrong side of history.”

The Defense of Marriage Act was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1996. It basically says that for any federal purposes, marriage is defined as the legal union between one man and one woman, and that states do not have to legally recognize same-sex marriages from another state.

Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.)

The participation of the 13 senators, all Democrats, in the “It Gets Better” video project was spearheaded by Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), who won Joe Biden’s seat after the latter became vice president.

In explaining his participation in the project, Coons said in a statement that, “’It Gets Better’ is more than a message. It’s a movement. It Gets Better is telling a whole generation of LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender] youth that they are not wrong just for being who they are and that they should not give up.”

“What we wanted to do with this video was to tell those young people that we are working hard in the Senate to try to make it better,” said Coons.  “It’s important they know that they’re not alone, that they have friends working for them in Congress and that it will most definitely get better. We’re going to make sure of it.”

“I am proud to be one of the senators cosponsoring the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act in the Senate because marriage equality is one of the most important things we can do to make it better for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans,” said Coons.

The video is entitled “A Message of Hope from the United States Senate.” In the video, the senators encourage LGBT youth to persevere.

“As a member of the United States Senate, I’m here to tell you, ‘it gets better,’” says Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.).

“Whether you’re gay, whether you’re straight, whether you’re not sure,” says Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D -N.Y.).

“I know it’s not easy,” says Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.).  “It’s not okay for your peers, adults, or for anyone to make you feel like you’re doing something wrong be being yourself.”

“Don’t let them win,” says Sen. Coons (D-Del.), and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) says, “Don’t let the bad guys get you down.”

“Every loving couple should have the right and privilege to be married, to be able to celebrate that love, to celebrate that commitment with all of their friends and loved ones around,” says Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.)

“It’s up to all of us to speak out against hate and intolerance wherever we see it,” says Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.)

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) (AP Photo)

“It’s up to every American who believes that equality for all means an equality that’s indifferent to sexual orientation,” says Coons.

“Please, don’t give up,” says Feinstein.

“Our country is changing,” says Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.).

At the Capitol Hill press conference where the video was unveiled, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said, “DOMA, folks, is on the wrong side of history.” He later added that New York state’s recent vote to legalize same-sex marriage was “historic” and that  “this march for justice is going to continue until we repeal it [DOMA].”

The “It Gets Better” project was launched in September 2010 by syndicated columnist Dan Savage and his partner, Terry Miller, after a number of LGBT youth committed suicide. The pair made a video telling LGBT youth that “it will get better” and posted it to YouTube, and also called upon other LGBT adults to post similar videos on YouTube.

The senators featured in the video are: Al Franken (D-Minn.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Mark Udall, (D-Colo.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Maria Cantwell  (D-Wash.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.).