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US: Legislators move to repeal DOMA in full

Democrats Feinstein and Nadler reintroduce Respect for Marriage bill

It's time for Congress to strike down DOMA in its entirety, says Senator Dianne Feinstein, of California. Credit: US Senate

On the heels of a US Supreme Court ruling that struck down a key provision of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), two Democratic legislators have moved to reintroduce a bill to repeal the law in its entirety.

Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York and Senator Dianne Feinstein of California reintroduced the Respect for Marriage Act June 26, which would allow legally married couples to receive more than 1,000 federal benefits, regardless of whether they are living in a state that doesn’t permit gay marriage.

“Our legislation is necessary because inequities in the administration of more than 1,100 federal laws affected by DOMA — including social security and veterans' benefits — will still need to be fixed. It is time Congress strike this discriminatory law once and for all,” Feinstein said in a statement.

DOMA belongs in the history books, Nadler added.

He said the Respect of Marriage Act would ensure repeal of Section 2 of DOMA, which “purports to excuse the states from even considering whether to honor the marriage of a gay and lesbian couple performed by a sister state.

“The bill also provides a uniform rule for recognizing couples under federal law, ensuring that all lawfully married couples will be recognized under federal law, no matter where they live,” Nadler noted.
Evan Wolfson, founder and president of the lobby group Freedom to Marry, said yesterday’s ruling should spur Congress to “get DOMA off the books and make clear that, while the federal government doesn’t tell states what to do, it must respect and protect all married couples throughout the US.

“As the Supreme Court today reaffirmed, in America we don’t have second-class citizens, and we shouldn’t have second-class marriages, either.”

According to Pink News, companies like Armani, Marriott, eBay and Thomson Reuters are part of a coalition of businesses that was established in January in support of the Respect for Marriage Act, which has 161 original sponsors in the House and 41 in the Senate.