News (USA)

Professional Organizations come out for Gay Marriage

nea_abaBoth the National Education Association (NEA) and the American Bar Association (ABA) have adopted resolutions backing full LGBT rights, including gay marriage.

The ABA, a professional organization for lawyers, approved a resolution supporting the repeal of at least part of legislative language contained in the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a 1996 law that denies gay and lesbian families any recognition on the federal level — even if they are married in any of the six states that currently extend marriage equality to everyone. The ABA’s policy-making House of Delegates passed the resolution at a conference in Chicago last week. The resolution was approved without debate with an overwhelming voice vote.

“This is a very modest recommendation, some would even say a conservative recommendation,” Estelle Rogers, a lawyer who is a consultant on civil rights, told ABA Journal.

“The enactment of DOMA Section 3 has deprived thousands of lawfully married same-sex spouses of the range of federal protections they would otherwise receive, making it difficult for them to provide for one another and subjecting them to financial hardship and uncertainty,” the ABA resolution says.

And last month, in San Diego, the NEA’s voted July 3 at its annual convention, to support member efforts to lobby for state and federal legislation protecting same-sex marriage and civil unions.

The NEA voiced its support for repeal of DOMA, and passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), a bill currently before Congress that would ban employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Another NEA item said the association opposes bans on gay marriage, but supports the right of religious institutions to refuse to “perform or recognize same-sex marriages.”

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