Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)

The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), is a U.S. federal law that allowed states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages performed under the laws of other states and which restricted federal marriage benefits. The law passed both houses of Congress by large majorities and was signed into law by President Bill Clinton on September 21, 1996. Section 3 of DOMA had codified the non-recognition of same-sex marriages for all federal purposes, including insurance benefits for government employees, Social Security survivors’ benefits, immigration, and the filing of joint tax returns.

Section 3 of DOMA was found unconstitutional in eight federal courts, including the First and Second Circuit Court of Appeals, on issues including bankruptcy, public employee benefits, estate taxes, and immigration. The U.S. Supreme Court in United States v. Windsor declared Section 3 of DOMA unconstitutional on June 26, 2013, “as a deprivation of the equal liberty of persons that is protected by the Fifth Amendment.” [ Wikipedia → ]

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Stories to watch in 2012 promise drama, suspense for the LGBT community

Sunday, January 1, 2012
Significant events are crowding the calendar for 2012, and each promises considerable drama and suspense for the LGBT community. Here is our special report on the ten most important stories to keep an eye on: [ Read more → ]

Marriage equality in New York, repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ among top LGBT stories of 2011

Saturday, December 31, 2011
From the repeal of "Don't Ask-Don't Tell," a policy which had banned gays and lesbians from serving openly in the U. S. military, to winning strategic battles in gaining civil unions and full marriage equality for same-sex couples in several states, victories in a significant series of elective offices across the country, 2011 ended on an upbeat note for the nation's LGBTQ community. [ Read more → ]

2011: An ‘epic year of transformation’ for marriage equality in the U.S.

Saturday, December 31, 2011
One leading advocate called 2011 an “epic” year for marriage equality. Was it? While only one state -- New York -- enacted full marriage rights for same-sex couples, it was the most populous state to do so. Five other states also moved closer to marriage equality than ever before. Public opinion shifted dramatically towards supporting equality. And the Obama administration announced that it no longer considers a key part of the Defense of Marriage Act constitutional. [ Read more → ]

NY Times: On gay rights and policies, Obama lets senior staff take lead

Friday, December 30, 2011
"President Obama has long relied on his oratorical gifts to ease him through tricky political situations. But on the emotionally charged issue of gay rights, Mr. Obama has been content recently to let his lieutenants do the talking. And they have said some striking things," reported Mark Landler, Senior White House Correspondent for The New York Times, on Friday. [ Read more → ]
Ken Weissenberg, (left) with spouse Brian Sheerin

Report: Legally married gay couples pay thousands in additional taxes

Wednesday, December 28, 2011
NEW YORK — Same-sex couples are paying as much as $6,000 a year in additional taxes because the federal government doesn’t recognize gay marriage, according to a new report by CNN. [ Read more → ]

One third of U.S. Senate now sponsoring bill to repeal DOMA

Monday, December 26, 2011
A new law in Ireland means that New Yorkers now have more rights on the Emerald Isle than they do in their own country. A hospital in Tennessee violates federal guidelines in denying visitation to a lesbian couple. There's a new ad for marriage equality in New Hampshire that epitomizes Yankee thrift. And 20,000 Australian doctors agree: marriage equality is good for your head. [ Read more → ]

Marriage equality activists raising the stakes from coast to coast

Monday, November 14, 2011
A victory for DOMA repeal in the Senate Judiciary Committee, but now it faces even greater hurdles in the full Senate. An election night victory in Iowa means marriage is safe, for now; but polling in Minnesota shows cause for alarm. Activists raise the stakes in Washington, Maryland, Oregon, and Maine. [ Read more → ]

What the Senate’s DOMA repeal vote really means

Friday, November 11, 2011
The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday voted to repeal the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act. Now it moves to a Senate that’s hostile to marriage equality — but that’s actually okay. Matt Baume at the American Foundation for Equal Rights has a special episode of Marriage News Watch. Watch here: [ Read more → ]

Senate Judiciary Committee votes to advance DOMA repeal bill

Thursday, November 10, 2011
A U.S. Senate committee on Thursday voted to advance the Respect for Marriage Act, an historic bill that would fully repeal the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage exclusively as a union between a man and a woman. [ Read more → ]

More positive polling for gay marriage, and a boost from flight attendants

Tuesday, November 8, 2011
More positive polling in Maine and Washington. Gay couples get a green light to sue over civil unions in New Jersey. A vote on DOMA gets postponed until next week. And marriage equality gets a boost from the National Association of Flight Attendants. This week's Marriage News Watch is here... [ Read more → ]

Major U.S. corporations tell federal court: DOMA is bad for business

Sunday, November 6, 2011
BOSTON -- Seventy major U.S. companies, including CBS, Google, Microsoft, Nike and Starbucks, have come together in an "amicus" brief -- commonly referred to as a "friend of the court" brief -- claiming that the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is harmful to commerce. [ Read more → ]
Nancy Pelosi

U.S. House Democrats join fight against DOMA in court

Saturday, November 5, 2011
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and 132 other Democrats on Thursday joined in the fight to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act in court by filing a legal brief in support of litigation against the anti-gay law. [ Read more → ]

Countdown to next Prop 8 ruling, stepping up the assault on DOMA

Monday, October 31, 2011
We're counting down to the next ruling in the Prop 8 case. A Republican-backed bill in New Hampshire would replace marriage with civil unions for everyone -- including siblings. Get ready for a showdown on the Defense of Marriage Act, and things are heating up in Ohio. [ Read more → ]
Aubry Sarvis

SLDN: Pentagon announcement of military benefits is ‘not new, not equal’

Friday, October 28, 2011
WASHINGTON -- The Pentagon on Friday identified a total of 14 benefits where members may designate beneficiaries of their choosing, regardless of sexual orientation, but the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) said the announcement does nothing "to move the ball forward" in providing equal benefits for legally married gay and lesbian couples. [ Read more → ]

SLDN files suit on behalf of married gay, lesbian service members, veterans

Friday, October 28, 2011
Service Members Legal Defense Network on Thursday launched a federal lawsuit in U. S. District Court in Boston on behalf of current and former service members seeking equal recognition, benefits and family support for equal sacrifice and service in the U.S. Armed Forces. [ Read more → ]

Audacity alert: NOM wants Obama to pay for Boehner’s junk science

Monday, October 24, 2011
The National Organization for Marriage on Monday really decided to raise the bar for unashamed audacity. The organization is now demanding that Obama’s Justice Department pay for Speaker of the House John Boehner’s defense of DOMA (the Defense of Marriage Act): [ Read more → ]

Secret anti-gays unmasked, then re-masked; defending DOMA costing taxpayers

Monday, October 24, 2011
It's been a crazy week, with secret anti-gay activists unmasked and then re-masked in Washington state. A Maryland football player is our new best friend, DOMA continues to crumble but not before costing taxpayers $520 per hour. And why is Australia's Prime Minister resisting a marriage equality measure that would increase public support for her party? [ Read more → ]
Herman Cain

Herman Cain says he now supports a federal ban on same-sex marriage

Sunday, October 23, 2011
GOP presidential hopeful Herman Cain now says he supports a federal marriage amendment that would ban same-sex marriage across the United States. [ Read more → ]
Mike Honda

Congressman calls for hearing to address rising cost of DOMA defense

Thursday, October 20, 2011
WASHINGTON — A U.S. Congressman from California has called for a hearing to address the rising cost to defend the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), calling it an “irresponsible, backdoor use of taxpayer money.” [ Read more → ]

Servicemembers Legal Defense Network plans lawsuit over military benefits

Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Servicemembers Legal Defense Network said it will file a lawsuit in federal court challenging the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), seeking military benefits for legally married same-sex couples that are currently available to their heterosexual counterparts. [ Read more → ]

BofA reimburses ‘gay tax,’ phony survey backfires, all hands on deck in Maryland

Monday, October 17, 2011
Say what you will about Bank of America, but they gave their LGBT employees a pretty remarkable gift this week. A phony anti-gay survey backfires in Washington when voters refuse to fall for discriminatory talking points. Turmoil at Equality California with a surprise resignation, and it's all hands on deck right now in Maryland. [ Read more → ]
Paul Clement

U.S. House DOMA lawyer: Gays have political power, don’t need legal protections

Sunday, October 16, 2011
The attorney representing the U.S. House in defending the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), said in court documents on Friday that, "homosexuals have a great deal of political power and are not entitled to the safeguards that courts have established for laws that discriminate against racial minorities or women." [ Read more → ]
Brian Brown

NOM attacks transgender son of House GOP supporter of DOMA repeal

Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Brian Brown, President of the National Organization for Marriage, on Wednesday said that Rodrigo Lehtinen, the transgender son of U.S. Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, is the reason his mother became the first Republican co-sponsor of the House bill aimed at repealing the Defense of Marriage Act. [ Read more → ]

Military chaplains tell Pentagon they refuse to officiate same-sex weddings

Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Nearly 2,000 members of the military-affiliated Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty (CARL) have pledged not to perform same-sex "wedding" ceremonies under any circumstances, despite a recent Pentagon directive that authorizes chaplains to perform same-sex wedding ceremonies, and military chapels to be used for "any private ceremony." [ Read more → ]

Why are we still deporting married LGBT people?

Monday, October 10, 2011
As the legal challenge to Prop 8 continues, Equality California backs away from a repeal campaign in 2012. More Republicans than ever back marriage equality, but deportation still looms for legally married LGBTs. And why should the nation's cops have to pay for John Boehner's $1.5 million anti-gay lawyer? [ Read more → ]
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