Kathryn Lehman, a lesbian Republican
who worked on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), is now lobbying for
DOMA is the 1996 law that bans federal
agencies from recognizing the marriages of gay and lesbian couples.
Huffington Post reported that in her capacity as chief
counsel for the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on the
Constitution, Lehman helped write the law.
Lehman, who at the time was involved in
a relationship with a man she eventually married, said the perception
America had of gay people was completely different in 1996.
“There was nobody married, it wasn't
allowed anywhere,” he said. “The view of gay people … it
wasn't Ellen [DeGeneres]. It wasn't Neil Patrick Harris. It was
kinky sex and women riding around on motorcycles without skirts on.
That was sort of the view that the community projected as well.”
After her marriage failed in 2001,
Lehman came to terms with her sexual orientation and began dating
But it wasn't until 2009 while reading
a legal brief by Ted Olson, the Republican attorney challenging
California's gay marriage ban, Proposition 8, that Lehman began to
recognize the harm DOMA caused.
“Traditionally, women didn't work
outside the home. Traditionally, in the South, black people sat in
the back of the bus,” she said. “It's all part of things
traditionally that have changed for the better.”
Last year, she began lobbying House
Republicans on behalf of Freedom to Marry to support repeal of DOMA.
“I sort of feel like I'm uniquely
suited to do this,” Lehman, 52, said.
architects Bill Clinton, Bob Barr now oppose the gay marriage ban.)