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Congress to Repeal Doma Completely, with Respect for Marriage Bill

The Respect for Marriage DOMA repeal bill has been reintroduced to both houses in the US yesterday. This will wipe out the last vestiges of the DOMA legislation, and ensure that whereever same-sex married couples live, they will be assured of their federal entitlements, regardless of whether same-sex marriage is legal in that state or not.

Although introduced by Democrats,  it is understood that the bill has some Republican support. It was introduced to both the House of  Representatives and the Senate, by Dianne Feinstein (Democrat, California) in the Senate, and Jerrold Nadler (Democrat, NY) in the House yesterday.

The Respect for Marriage Act has 161 original cosponsors, including Congressman Nadler, in the House and 41 original cosponsors, including Senator Feinstein, in the Senate.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler, the top democrat on the House Judiciary Subcommitee on the Constitution and Civil Justice,who introduced it to the House, said in a press release.

“We should rejoice and celebrate today’s ruling, but our work is not yet done.  The Court has ruled that Section 3 of DOMA is unconstitutional, but Congress still must repeal the law in its entirety.  That is why we are reintroducing the Respect for Marriage Act, which repeals DOMA in its entirety and sends DOMA into the history books where it belongs.

This bill ensures repeal of section 2 of DOMA, which was not at issue in the Windsor case and 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.

We salute today’s ruling.  It is a tremendously important victory, but it is also a call to all of us to finish the job by passing the Respect for Marriage Act.

Senator Feinstein, a senior member of the Senate Judiciary Commitee,  said:

“I was one of 14 senators to oppose DOMA in 1996.  Today’s ruling by the Supreme Court clearly establishes that one class of legally married individuals cannot be denied rights under federal law accorded to all other legally married couples.  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.”


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