At hearing Thursday for a bill that would repeal the federal ban on same sex marriage, Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) encouraged his Republican colleagues not to worry because "straight people aren't suddenly going to become gay."
"The suffering that [the Defense of Marriage Act] DOMA causes and will cause is very real and it's cruel," Franken told the Senate Judiciary Committee. "DOMA hurts people who love each other and want to make a commitment to each other for life. DOMA hurts people who want to have kids and adopt kids and raise them and take care of them. DOMA hurts people who want to save up money and retire and live the rest of their lives together with some degree of comfort. DOMA hurts familties."
"Mr. Chairman, we need to pass this bill," he added. "And when we do pass it, straight people aren't suddenly going to become gay. Straight people aren't going to stop getting married. We're going to be just fine, really."
Franken concluded: "What will happen is that millions upon millions of lesbian and gay Americans aren't going to suffer the indignity of having their own government tell them that their marriages are no good. What will happen is that it will be easier for those people to start and to protect their families."
Franken and nine other Democrats on the committee voted to pass the bill. All eight Republicans voted against the measure.
The Human Rights Campaign delivered 135,000 petitions to Senate offices Thursday calling for Congress to finally legalize marriage equality. Although 30 Democratic senators are co-sponsoring the repeal of DOMA, it is not expected to pass the pass the full Senate even if it does come up for a vote.
Watch this video from the U.S. Senate, broadcast Nov. 10, 2011.