US: Legislation to fully repeal federal ban on same-sex marriage reintroduced

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A Senator and a Representative in the US, have reintroduced legislation to fully repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), in the wake of it being deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court yesterday.

Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein, and Democratic Representative Jerrold Nadler, reintroduced the Respect for Marriage Act on Wednesday, which would fully repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, after the high court struck down Section 3 of the 1996 legislation.

The legislation would fully repeal DOMA, and would allow legally married couples to receive some 1,138 federal benefits of marriage, even if living in a state which does now allow same-sex marriages.

Senator Feinstein said in a statement yesterday: “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.”

Congressman Nadler also released a statement, saying: “Today’s Supreme Court ruling in United States v. Windsor affirms what we stand for as Americans—the guarantee that every person and every family is given equal respect under the law. It means that married same-sex couples can participate fully in federal programs that provide much-needed security for American families. Far beyond this, today’s ruling also means that these couples—their loving commitments and lawful marriages—will finally receive their government’s equal respect and support.”

“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,” Nadler added. “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.”

The Respect for Marriage Act has 161 original cosponsors in the House, as well as 41 original cosponsors in the Senate.

A coalition of businesses formed in January, in support of the Respect for Marriage Act, including high-profile companies such as Armani, Marriott, eBay, and Thomson Reuters.