By Michael M. Gleeson - 09/14/09 12:19 AM EDT
House lawmakers are poised to introduce legislation that would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
The law, which was signed by President Bill ClintonBill ClintonTrump camp talking points: Mention Monica Lewinsky The Trail 2016: Miss Universe crashes campaign Obama to attend Shimon Peres funeral in Israel MORE in 1996, defines marriage as between a man and a woman, and prevents same-sex married couples from receiving the same federal benefits as heterosexual married couples.
In the 13 years since the bill was signed into law, four states – Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, and Vermont – have recognized same-sex marriages. In 2010, New Hampshire will likewise change its marriage laws to recognize same-sex marriage.
President Barack ObamaBarack ObamaFirst lady slams Trump's 'birther' comments Obama's contradictory stance toward black asylum seekers Webb: After the debate MORE during his 2008 campaign promised a full repeal of the DOMA.
In June, Obama announced a package of domestic partnership benefits for federal workers. However, the president did not extend full health benefits to same-sex couples, drawing strong criticism from gay leaders.
Defending his position of extending only certain benefits to same-sex couples, Obama said, “Unfortunately, my administration is not authorized by existing federal law to provide same-sex couples with the full range of benefits enjoyed by heterosexual couples.”
Obama added, “That’s why I stand by my long-standing commitment to work with Congress to repeal the so-called Defense of Marriage Act…It’s discriminatory, it interferes with states’ rights, and it’s time we overturned it.”
The three House lawmakers are scheduled to unveil their bill at a press conference on Tuesday.