DOMA Repeal Introduced
Special Report - March 23, 2011
Only a few weeks after the Obama administration announced that the Justice Department would no longer defend the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in court, legislation to repeal DOMA has been introduced in the U.S. Congress. Sponsored by Representative Ralph Nadler (D- NY), H.R. 1116-Respect for Marriage Act, would repeal the federal DOMA, and amend section 7 of title 1 of the U.S. Code to read: “For the purposes of any Federal law in which marital status is a factor, an individual shall be considered married if that individual's marriage is valid in the State where the marriage was entered into or, in the case of a marriage entered into outside any State, if the marriage is valid in the place where entered into and the marriage could have been entered into in a State.”
H.R. 1116 currently has 108 cosponsors in the House, including North Carolina Representative David E. Price (D-4). A similar bill, S. 598-Respect for Marriage Act of 2011, has been introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senator Diane Feinstein with 19 cosponsors. President Obama has repeatedly indicated his support for a DOMA repeal and would most likely sign the measure into law, if it is enacted by Congress.
The federal DOMA, which was enacted by Congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1996, defines marriage for the purposes of federal law as only between a man and a woman, and protects states, such as North Carolina, from having to recognize same-sex “marriages” that are performed in states where the practice is legal. As we previously reported, the U.S. Department of Justice announced in a February 23 letter to Congress that it would no longer defend Section 3 of DOMA in two ongoing lawsuits brought by homosexual advocacy groups that challenge its constitutionality. U.S. House Speaker John Boehner responded to this announcement by releasing a statement on March 9, pledging that the U.S. House would help defend DOMA from continuing legal challenges.
“The legislative effort in Congress to repeal the federal DOMA is just the latest example of the continuing and escalating attacks by homosexual activists and their allies on national and state laws that define marriage as the union of a man and a woman,” said Bill Brooks, president of the North Carolina Family Policy Council. “Their goal is to force the redefinition of marriage on every state, and repealing the federal DOMA would put them very close to achieving that goal.”
Brooks added, “Once again, these efforts highlight the critical importance of Marriage Protection Amendments for every state, including North Carolina. We hope that the new leadership of the General Assembly will take note of the increasing vulnerability of our state marriage laws, and act this year on legislation that would give North Carolinians the chance to vote on a Marriage Protection Amendment.”
To learn more about why North Carolina needs a Marriage Protection Amendment, download our new issue brief here.
U.S. House to Intervene in DOMA Defense - March 15, 2011
Marriage Protection Amendment Filed - February 24, 2011
Majority Battle Rundown - February 2, 2011
Assault on Marriage Intensifies - November 12, 2010
ADF Petitions U.S. Supreme Court - October 15, 2010
Judge Says Federal DOMA Flawed - July 9, 2010
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