Federal DOMA Repeal Bill Considered
Special Report - November 9, 2011
The Judiciary committee of the United States Senate has scheduled for consideration this week, a bill to repeal the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). S. 598Respect for marriage Act of 2011 will receive its third day of consideration in the Senate Judiciary committee on Thursday, November 10 at 10:00 AM. The bill, which was introduced by Senator Diane Feinstein (DCA) and 30 cosponsors in March, would “repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and ensure respect for State regulation of marriage.”
The measure would also extend federal marriage benefits, including filing joint income taxes, and veterans’ and employment benefits to same-sex couples who marry in states that allow same-sex “marriage.” It states specifically that “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.”
The bill was first considered this past summer. On July 20, several outside speakers participated in a hearing before the Judiciary Committee on S. 598, including: Focus on the Family’s senior vice president for public policy, Tom Minnery; Human Rights Campaign president, Joe Solmonese; Alliance Defense Fund senior legal counsel, Austin Nimocks; and Freedom to Marry founder and president, Evan Wolfson. A second hearing on the bill was held November 3. Committee chairman, Senator Patrick Leahy (DVT), who voted for DOMA’s passage in 1996, issued a press release commending the bill to repeal DOMA for restoring “the power of states to define and determine ‘marriage’ without the federal government imposing its restrictive definition of marriage on the states.” He went on to state, “I look forward to the repeal of DOMA. This Committee taking favorable action on this bill takes us closer to that day.”
S. 598 is expected to clear the Judiciary committee based on an admission in Senator Leahy’s press release that all 10 Democrat members of the 18-person committee support the bill. A companion bill in the U.S. House, H.R. 1116Respect for Marriage, has 130 cosponsors, including North Carolina Representatives Brad Miller (D13) and David Price (NC4). H.R. 1116 has been referred to the Subcommittee on the Constitution of the House Judiciary Committee.
Obama Support DOMA Repeal- February 16, 2011
U.S. House Affirms DOMA - July 11, 2011
DOMA Defenders Change Minds- April 26, 2011
DOMA Repeal Introduced - March 23, 2011
U.S. House to Intervene in DOMA Defense - March 15, 2011
White House Wants DOMA Repeal - August 19, 2009
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