Illinois Senator Dick Durbin on Thursday dismissed Texas Senator John Cornyn's assertions that repealing the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was a political calculation for Democrats.

During a Senate committee hearing on repeal of the Defense of Marriage (DOMA), Cornyn noted his opposition to eliminating the 1996 law that bars federal agencies and the military from recognizing the legal marriages of gay and lesbian couples by stating repeal would increase the national debt. He also questioned the motivations of Democrats, who stood united to pass the bill out of committee.

“I stand with the vast majority of the American people on the subject of traditional marriage. And there was a time when so did most of the members of the Democratic Party,” Cornyn told his colleagues.

“I think the reversal we're seeing on the Defense of Marriage Act, a federal law not a state law, is just another sign of how out of touch that some of our friends across the aisle have been with the American people on this issue. And I think unfortunately, and it saddens me to say this knowing that this bill will never become law in this Congress, I think it's a transparent appeal to a special interest group that our Democratic friends believe is a key to their electoral victory in 2012,” he added.

Durbin, who followed Cornyn, denied the claim.

“It isn't because I'm counting up votes. It isn't because I'm counting up donations that might come my way. It's because I believe as a matter of principle that this is the right thing to do. I don't care if it wins me votes or loses me votes. I think we ought to be motivated here by something other than the political calculation on issues of this gravity,” Durbin said.

“If it's a political calculation about how much freedom we can afford, we can afford to be a free nation whatever the cost may be,” he added.