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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Bill Clinton announces support for New York marriage equality

Thursday, May 5, 2011
Former President Bill Clinton, who in 1996 signed the Defense of Marriage Act into law, has announced his support for marriage equality, joining the campaign to legalize same-sex marriage in New York state. [ Read more → ]

Date set for Proposition 8 showdown: Can a gay judge be fair, objective?

Monday, May 2, 2011
What really prompted a prominent law firm to give up its defense of DOMA, and lose a key lawyer in the process? The date's been set for a showdown over the secret Prop 8 trial tapes, and over Judge Walker's personal life. Rhode Island legislators... [ Read more → ]
Ken Cuccinelli

Virginia AG cuts ties with King & Spalding for dropping DOMA defense

Saturday, April 30, 2011
Virginia's Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, has fired the Atlanta-based law firm King & Spalding for backing out of its contract with the U.S. House to defend the Defense of Marriage Act in federal court. [ Read more → ]

Married partner faces deportation hearing as a result of ‘Defense of Marriage Act’

Saturday, April 30, 2011
MSNBC's Thomas Roberts speaks with Josh Vandiver and Henry Velandia, a binational same-sex couple married last year in Connecticut, where gay marriage is legal. As a result of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), Velandia is facing deportation hearing on May 6. [ Read more → ]

Tom & Ron’s story: Why the ‘Defense of Marriage Act’ must be repealed

Thursday, April 28, 2011
THIS is why Federal recognition of marriage rights for the LGBT community is important. This is why DOMA needs to be repealed. If Ron was female he would have enough money to keep his home. He now has to sell the home he shared with his partner of 55 years. [ Read more → ]

Why are Republicans spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to defend DOMA?

Monday, April 25, 2011
There's going to be marriage than ever before, with another survey showing majority support for the freedom to marry. So why are Republicans spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to defend a law that could tear apart legally married couples like Henry and Josh? [ Read more → ]
Paul Clement

Law firms drops out of defending ‘Defense of Marriage Act’ — Clement resigns

Monday, April 25, 2011
The Washington D.C. law firm King & Spalding has reversed course, and announced Monday it would not represent the U.S. House of Representatives in defending the Defense of Marriage Act in federal court, Politico reported. [ Read more → ]

Brutal beating of a trans woman, DOMA defense, Chick-Fil-A and ‘Don’t Say Gay’

Sunday, April 24, 2011
This week on “Same Sex Sunday,” the panel discusses the brutal beating of a transgender woman at a Baltimore McDonald’s, the price of defending DOMA, Chick-Fil-A's anti-gay attitudes, and the "Don't Say Gay" in Tennessee schools bill. [ Read more → ]

LGBT legal groups consider breaking ties with DC law firm over DOMA defense

Friday, April 22, 2011
At least two prominent LGBT legal and advocacy groups are re-considering their association with the Washington D.C. law firm that has been retained by the U.S. House GOP leadership to defend the Defense of Marriage Act in federal court. [ Read more → ]

Law firm hired by House GOP imposes anti-gay ‘gag order’ on employees

Thursday, April 21, 2011
The law firm King & Spalding has become the new face of the anti-gay marriage movement -- in signing on to defend the Defense of Marriage Act in federal court, the firm has also silenced its employees from advocating in support of same-sex marriage. [ Read more → ]
John Boehner

House GOP hires lawyer to defend DOMA, vows to take DOJ funds to foot the bill

Monday, April 18, 2011
House Republicans on Monday appointed a private attorney to defend the Defense of Marriage Act in federal court, and Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) vowed to take funds from the Justice Department budget to pay for it. [ Read more → ]

Activists give Maggie Gallagher bigotry award; promises a pie, à la Anita Bryant

Friday, April 15, 2011
At a Congressional hearing on “Defending Marriage” on Friday, LGBT activist group GetEQUAL caught up with Maggie Gallagher, the anti-gay marriage board chairman of the National Organization for Marriage, and presented her with the “First Annual Anita Bryant Award for Unbridled and Unparalleled Bigotry.” [ Read more → ]
Rep. Trent Franks (left), and NOM Chair Maggie Gallagher

Democrats come out swinging during House hearing on ‘defending marriage’

Friday, April 15, 2011
Democrats came out swinging on Friday during a House subcommittee hearing on the Department of Justice announcement that it would curtail its defense of the federal ban on recognition of same-sex marriages. [ Read more → ]

Congressman asks Obama administration to halt deportation of same-sex spouses

Wednesday, April 6, 2011
A U.S. congressman from New Jersey has asked the Obama to halt deportation proceedings against the same-sex spouses of U.S. citizens, making the request on behalf of a gay couple who reside in his district. [ Read more → ]
John Boehner

Sponsors of DOMA repeal press Boehner for briefing on House defense efforts

Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Lead sponsors of the Respect for Marriage Act -- the bill aimed at repealing the Defense of Marriage Act -- are pressing House Speaker John Boehner for a briefing on any activities relating to plans by the House general counsel to defend DOMA. [ Read more → ]
Passport immigration stamp

U.S. government again prohibiting green-card applications from same-sex couples

Wednesday, March 30, 2011
The U.S. government is once again prohibiting foreign spouses of gay and lesbian Americans from applying for green cards, federal authorities announced Wednesday. [ Read more → ]
Rep John Conyers at House announcement

Democrats introduce bills in House and Senate to repeal ‘Defense of Marriage Act’

Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Congressional Democrats on Wednesday went on the offensive, introducing bills in both the House and Senate aimed at repealing the "Defense of Marriage Act." [ Read more → ]

HRC Poll: Voters oppose Republican defense of ‘DOMA’

Tuesday, March 15, 2011
A majority of American voters oppose the Defense of Marriage Act, as well as efforts by the House Republican leadership to intervene in court cases defending the law, according to new polling released Tuesday. [ Read more → ]

Legislation to repeal ‘Defense of Marriage Act’ to be introduced Wednesday

Tuesday, March 15, 2011
A bill to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act will be re-introduced in the U.S. House on Wednesday, along with a companion bill introduced in the U.S. Senate. [ Read more → ]
Left to right: Reps. Kevin McCarthy, John Boehner, Eric Cantor

Boehner, House GOP leadership move to defend DOMA in court

Friday, March 11, 2011
House GOP leadership took a key step this week that will allow it to defend in court the Defense of Marriage Act, the federal law that defines marriage as between a man and a woman [ Read more → ]
Rep. John Boehner

Boehner calls for House group to defend Defense of Marriage Act

Friday, March 4, 2011
House Speaker John Boehner announced Friday that the House would take some action to defend the federal law that prohibits recognition of same-sex marriages. Meanwhile, at least three bills were introduced this week to either defend or expand the reach of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). [ Read more → ]
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

Gillibrand to House GOP: Don’t waste taxpayer money defending DOMA

Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Just one day after House GOP leadership announced they would take action to defend the Defense of Marriage Act, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) is urging Republican leaders not to waste taxpayer resources to defend the unconstitutional law. [ Read more → ]

DOJ – DOMA aftermath: Swell or tsunami?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Political decisions are a lot like oceanic earthquakes. First, there’s the quake, and then there’s the wave. So it is with the decision by the Obama Department of Justice to call the Defense of Marriage Act -- or DOMA -- unconstitutional. [ Read more → ]
Sens. Eric Cantor (left) and John Boehner

House GOP leaders working on plan to defend DOMA

Tuesday, March 1, 2011
In response to the Obama administration's decision to stop defending the unconstitutional Defense of Marriage Act in court, House Republicans are now saying they are looking to have a plan in place by late this week to defend the law themselves. [ Read more → ]

Democrats poised to introduce legislation to repeal ‘Defense of Marriage Act’

Sunday, February 27, 2011
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) has announced plans to introduce a bill in the U.S. Congress that would repeal the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the law that defines marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman for purposes of all federal laws. [ Read more → ]
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