DOMA

DOMA Battle About To Begin

President Obama may still waffle on marriage equality (which, I believe, if he’s re-elected, will fall by the wayside and will be replaced by a full support of the issue. Presidents generally save the really groundbreaking stuff for the safe, second term.) but he does support the repeal of DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act). DOMA restricts the granting of over a thousand new legal rights to opposite sex married couples. Legally same sex married couples still have no federal benefits afforded to them. This, despite the rallying calls of some of those opposed to same sex marriage, that it should be left up to the states. Even if we hold to that standard, why then does the federal government, which has historically left marriage laws up to individual states, now choose to dole out their marriage rights only to those they see fit? Doesn’t make much sense, does it? And it never did.

DOMA

Still, DOMA has been in effect since 1996.

But maybe times are changing…

Next month, a vote will be taken to repeal DOMA, setting the stage for another LGBT civil rights battle in Congress.

“Next month, I will call up the Respect for Marriage Act for debate and a vote in the Judiciary Committee,” said committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) in a statement on Friday. “The Respect for Marriage Act would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, which prevents thousands of American families from being protected by laws that help secure other American families. This is part of the nation’s continuing fight for civil rights for all Americans.”

“This markup is an incredible step toward ending federal marriage discrimination that causes real harm to American families,” said Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign. “Chairman Leahy and Senator [Dianne] Feinstein have been leaders in this fight, and we applaud them for continuing the momentum against this unjust law.”

Leahy held the first-ever hearing on DOMA repeal in July, and the Respect for Marriage Act now has 30 Senate co-sponsors. Feinstein (D-Calif.) is the lead sponsor of the bill in the Senate. In the House, the legislation has a record bipartisan group of 129 co-sponsors.

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