Congressman pushes for repeal of anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act

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A Democratic congressman is to re-introduce a bill to overturn the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act next week.

After the Obama administration said yesterday it would no longer defend the law, Jerrold Nadler, a representative for New York, is calling on other politicians to support his Respect for Marriage Act.

He secured the support of more than 100 co-sponsors last year but the bill failed to attract a Senate sponsor and fell flat.

The Defense of Marriage Act restricts federal recognition of marriage to heterosexual couples – meaning that even states which want to give gay couples full equality cannot do so.

In a statement Mr Nadler said: “The President has long called upon Congress to repeal this unconstitutional law and I will be reintroducing my legislation, the Respect for Marriage Act, to repeal [the Defence of Marriage Act] and ensure that committed, loving couples can rely upon the legal responsibilities and security that come with the time-honored tradition of marriage.”

According to USA Today, Mr Nadler’s office says that all four out gay congress members – Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Jared Polis of Colorado, Barney Frank of Massachusetts and David Cicilline of Rhode Island – are backing it.

Mr Frank has co-signed a letter of support being circulated by Mr Nadler.

Yesterday, President Obama’s administration said it would no longer defend the law, known as DOMA.

The decision not to defend the law is as a result of two cases brought against the US government. They were filed in Connecticut and New York by gay rights groups argued that the law was unconstitutional. The plaintiffs were five married same-sex couples and a widower who have all been denied federal rights and protections because they are married to a person of the same sex.

The administration said the decision was made by Mr Obama himself, because he believes that the law is unconstitutional. However, a spokesman for the White House said that it is not a reflection of a change of the president’s position on gay marriage.

The president is still “grappling” with his personal views on the matter, however, he has consistently described DOMA as “unnecessary” and “unfair”.

* has used the American spelling of Defense as it is included in the title of the legislation.