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White House endorses ‘Respect for Marrriage Act,’ bill would repeal DOMA

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

On the eve of the first ever congressional hearing on proposals to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the White House on Tuesday announced President Barack Obama’s endorsement of the Respect For Marriage Act — the bill that would repeal DOMA.

White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters at Tuesday’s briefing that the president “is proud” to support the Respect For Marriage Act, “which would take the Defense of Marriage Act off the books for once and for all.”

The Respect for Marriage Act, introduced by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) would repeal DOMA and restore the rights of all lawfully married couples, including same-sex couples, to receive the benefits of marriage under federal law.

Advocates of the repeal hailed the White House announcement.

“It is rare that a White House endorses a bill that has yet to pass first in either the Senate or the House,” said Rick Jacobs, chairman of the gay rights advocacy group Courage Campaign, in a statement. “His support makes clear to all Americans that the Defense of Marriage Act has no place in our society.”

“By supporting this legislation, the President continues to demonstrate his commitment to ending federal discrimination against tens of thousands of lawfully married same-sex couples,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese, in a statement.

On Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to hear testimony about the marriage legislation.

The hearing, entitled “S.598, The Respect for Marriage Act: Assessing the Impact of DOMA on American Families,” marks the first ever hearing on the issue of repealing DOMA since its enactment nearly 15 years ago.

DOMA, enacted in 1996, prevents any of the over 1,100 federal rights, benefits and responsibilities of marriage from being afforded to legally married same-sex couples.

Those benefits include Social Security survivor benefits, federal employee health benefits for spouses, protections against spouses losing their homes in cases of severe medical emergencies, the right to sponsor a foreign born partner for immigration, the guarantee of family and medical leave and the ability to file joint tax returns, among many others.

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15 more reader comments:

  1. This is huge!

    Posted on Tuesday, July 19, 2011 at 1:58pm
  2. Super like!

    Posted on Tuesday, July 19, 2011 at 1:59pm
  3. Some people are upset that our President is only coming out for this knowing it won’t get a vote and also that he’s still saying that he supports state law over this, but what I say is a flood starts but with only one drop of water.

    Posted on Tuesday, July 19, 2011 at 2:00pm
  4. Yay!

    Posted on Tuesday, July 19, 2011 at 2:01pm
  5. Yippee!

    Posted on Tuesday, July 19, 2011 at 2:07pm
  6. WOOOOOO GO OBAMA!!!

    Posted on Tuesday, July 19, 2011 at 2:09pm
  7. Incredible and momentous events are happening in the USA lately in support of the LGBT community..

    WOW… and more !!!

    Posted on Tuesday, July 19, 2011 at 3:43pm
  8. woo!

    Posted on Tuesday, July 19, 2011 at 3:56pm
  9. OBAMA !!

    Posted on Tuesday, July 19, 2011 at 4:10pm
  10. ok will this really do anything. i mean yeah, the president is supporting it but idk how that is going to ensure that doma gets repealed. does it? idk, just asking. needing clarification.

    Posted on Tuesday, July 19, 2011 at 5:05pm
  11. Idk if this is any “big news”
    I mean the congress is republican run so…….?

    Sorry to be a downer but i am in a binational relationship and i do NOT want to fill myself with hope and have it come tumbling down on me…

    Posted on Tuesday, July 19, 2011 at 8:38pm
  12. :)

    Posted on Tuesday, July 19, 2011 at 10:40pm
  13. smh

    Posted on Tuesday, July 19, 2011 at 11:08pm
  14. Its about time Obama did something in his administration. but, did he really have to wait until his re-election to get it done?

    Posted on Wednesday, July 20, 2011 at 2:19am
  15. Yesssss

    Posted on Wednesday, July 20, 2011 at 2:59am