Lehman, now 52, was chief counsel for the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on the Constitution. She says she and her colleagues working on DOMA didn't think it would do much harm. They had two goals in mind: to prevent the federal government from recognizing any marriage between gay couples, and to ensure that states didn't have to recognize gay couples married in other states.
At the Republican National Convention in 2004, Lehman ran into someone she had known for years, Julie Conway, a political fundraiser. They had been friends in the past, but Lehman says something shifted for her when she saw Conway this time, and they soon began dating -- and are still partners today. President George W. Bush was also at the convention, of course, and Lehman recalls that as sparks were flying for her, Bush was giving a speech about protecting traditional marriage. At the time, she says, she only "sort of" laughed at the irony.
Lehman says she began to think about what had motivated GOP leaders to pass DOMA in the first place. She says she realized "the great threat" they were all worried about never materialized. Asked what they were so afraid would happen if gay people got married, she says she wasn't really sure.
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