Dems offer bill to repeal DOMA

Dozens of House and Senate Democrats on Wednesday introduced legislation to repeal the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), after the Supreme Court said it’s unconstitutional for the federal government to discriminate against state-approved same-sex marriage.

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), the sponsor of the House bill, praised the ruling as a victory for same-sex couples but said full repeal of DOMA is needed.

“We should rejoice and celebrate today’s ruling, but our work is not yet done,” he said. “The Court has ruled that Section 3 of DOMA is unconstitutional, but Congress still must repeal the law in its entirety.”

{mosads}Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the lead Senate sponsor, said the existence of even a portion of DOMA will affect federal laws and regulations, and thus needs to be scrapped.

“It is time Congress strike this discriminatory law once and for all,” she said.

Their Respect for Marriage Act repeals the law entirely, which Nadler said is critical to ensuring the federal government does not intrude on same-sex marriage. 

In United States v. Windsor, the court struck down Section 3 of DOMA, which says the government can only recognize marriage between a man and a woman — this language prevented the government from offering federal benefits to same-sex couples.

But Nadler said Section 2 of the law still stands, which says states have the right to block same-sex marriages.

“We salute today’s ruling,” he said. “It is a tremendously important victory, but it is also a call to all of us to finish the job by passing the Respect for Marriage Act.”

The House bill, H.R. 2523, has 160 other co-sponsors, and the Senate bill, S. 1236, has 40 other Senate sponsors.

In the meantime, some Republicans have said they’re looking for ways to keep DOMA in place despite the Supreme Court ruling. Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.) has said he would introduce a new amendment to the Constitution that enshrines DOMA permanently.

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