Rep. Jerrold Nadler's DOMA Repeal Bill Filed in U.S. House With 91 Co-Sponsors
Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) today filed his DOMA repeal bill, the "Respect For Marriage Act," in the U.S. House with 91 co-sponsors.
“Today, we celebrate the first step toward overturning the Defense of Marriage Act and sending that ugly law into the history books where it belongs," said Nadler, adding that the new RMA bill has 91 original cosponsors. Nadler later read a statement from former President Bill Clinton thanking Reps. Nadler, Baldwin, Polis, John Conyers of Michigan, John Lewis of Georgia, Nydia Velazquez of New York and Barbara Lee of California, for introducing the legislation. Clinton signed DOMA into law in 1996. “Throughout my life I have opposed discrimination of any kind," Clinton said in the statement. "When the Defense of Marriage Act was passed, gay couples could not marry anywhere in the United States or the world for that matter. Thirteen years later, the fabric of our country has changed, and so should this policy.” The bill would repeal all three sections of DOMA -- which federally defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman -- including section one, which is the name; section two, which instructs states not to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states; and section three, which prohibits the federal government from recognizing legally performed same-sex marriages.Major LGBT rights organizations react below.
"It is long past time for DOMA to go," said Kevin Cathcart, Executive Director of Lambda Legal. "When DOMA passed in 1996 it was a gratuitous slap in the face. But now, 13 years later, there are thousands of married same-sex couples who are hurt by this law. We've come a long way in 13 years and the federal government shouldn't be in the business of deciding that some married couples are worthy of federal respect and others are not. Married same-sex couples pay federal taxes just like everyone else and have a right to the same respect, important benefits and protections as everyone else."National Gay & Lesbian Task Force:
We thank Reps. Nadler, Baldwin, Polis, Lewis and Velazquez for introducing this bill to dismantle one of the most discriminatory and far-reaching laws to emerge against our community: the so-called 'Defense of Marriage Act.' "DOMA is and has always been an immoral attack on same-sex couples, our families and our fundamental humanity. This hateful law has only served to discriminate against people and belittle our country's heralded values of freedom, fairness and justice. It is long past time to repeal DOMA, which has left a moral scar on this country. Today marks an important step toward closing an ugly chapter in our nation's history, and for working to ensure same-sex couples and our families are treated fairly. Too many families have been hurt for far too long because of DOMA. "We at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, along with people all across the country — from every town and every background — recognize that our entire nation benefits when everyone is allowed to contribute their talents and skills, free from discrimination. That's why we are urging for passage of the 'Respect for Marriage Act.'"Gay & Lesbian Advocates and Defenders:
Our view is that every branch of government should be engaged in the process of getting rid of this discriminatory law. Every day we see the damage DOMA causes families in the states, denying them access to the federal safety net, penalizing them financially, and rendering them second-class. We need to engage all levels of government in ending this discrimination.Human Rights Campaign:
“The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is a hurtful and cynical law enacted to discriminate against loving, committed same-sex couples,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese, who also offered remarks at the introduction press conference. “It does real harm by denying thousands of lawfully-married same-sex couples the federal rights and benefits that only flow through marriage. Many of these include the protections couples turn to in times of need, like Social Security survivors’ benefits, medical leave to care for an ailing spouse and equal treatment under U.S. immigration laws. Today’s introduction of legislation to repeal DOMA is a welcome step, and as more states recognize the commitment of loving same-sex couples and their families, it's time for this law to go into the history books where it belongs.”