Thursday, November 3, 2011

Senate Committee Considers DOMA Repeal Bill

The Senate Judiciary Committee will consider a bill on Thursday, Nov. 3, that would repeal the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

New York Congressman Jerrold Nadler introduced the measure in the House in March; while Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) introduced a companion DOMA repeal measure in the Senate.

“Marriage is the true foundation for strong families," said Gillibrand. "Every loving, committed couple deserves the basic human right to get married, start a family, and have access to all the same rights and privileges that my husband and I enjoy. No politician should stand in the way of this fact."

The White House announced earlier this year that it will no longer defend DOMA in federal court. The committee held a hearing on the Clinton-era law in July, but the mark-up comes a week after eight current and retired gay servicemembers filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of DOMA in a federal court in Boston.

“Today is another step toward restoration of the traditional practice of having the federal government respect marriages lawfully celebrated by the states – and eliminating the gay exception that unfairly denies that equal treatment to loving and committed couples who have gotten legally married,” said Evan Wolfson, founder and president of Freedom to Marry. “As the Senate Judiciary Committee considers this bill, we urge members to take into account the real harms families face because of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, and the burdens this departure from the usual way the federal government honors marriages imposes on businesses, employers, and others dealing with married couples.”

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