Democrats introduce bill to officially repeal DOMA

Posted on 07 Jan 2015 at 1:06pm

marriageA bill that would officially repeal the Defense of Marriage Act was introduced yesterday (Tuesday, Jan. 6), the first day of the Republican-controlled 114th Congress.

The Respect for Marriage Act was introduced by Reps. Jerrold Nadler, D-New York, and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Florida, in the House and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, in the Senate. 77 additional House members and 41 other senators have signed on.

The Supreme Court struck down the portion of DOMA barring federal recognition of same-sex marriage in 2013. Since that ruling, same-sex marriage is legal in 36 states and Washington, D.C. But same-sex marriage is still banned in 14 states, including Texas, and they do not have to recognize marriages performed elsewhere. (The Texas marriage case will be heard before the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans on Friday.) The Respect for Marriage Act would fix that.

“The vast majority of Americans live in states where same-sex couples can marry and public support for marriage equality is growing stronger by the day. We must finish the job begun by the Supreme Court by passing the Respect for Marriage Act.  The Supreme Court has ruled that Section 3 of DOMA is unconstitutional, but Congress still must repeal the law in its entirety,” Nadler said in a statement.

The legislation, he said, “provides a uniform rule for recognizing couples under federal law, ensuring that lawfully married couples will be recognized under federal law no matter where they live.”

According to a Department of Justice report, without legislation that repeals DOMA, married same-sex couples will continue to be denied critical federal benefits.

“Congress must repeal DOMA and ensure that married, same-sex couples are treated equally under federal law, which is what this bill will do,” said Sen. Feinstein. “Only when this bill is passed will we be able to guarantee the federal rights, benefits and responsibilities of marriage for all loving couples. I call on my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support this bill.”

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