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Posted by on Jul 19, 2011 in Politics | 9 comments

“Respect” For Marriage Act Would Repeal DOMA

The Respect for Marriage Act (ROMA) would “restore the rights of all lawfully married couples – including tens of thousands of same-sex couples – to receive the benefits of marriage under federal law.” This a direct response to social conservative opposition to same-sex marriage, embodied by the (evocatively named) “Defense” of Marriage Act (DOMA).

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) introduced the legislation (S598 and HR1116 ) last week. Today, President Obama endorsed the bill via White House press secretary Jay Carney.

Why the bill is important:

There are over one thousand federal laws in which marriage status is a factor. These laws confer rights, protections, and benefits to married couples. Partners in same-sex couples cannot receive these important benefits — from Social Security survivor benefits to federal tax benefits to federal employee health and retirement benefits.

The DOMA explicitly prohibits conveyance of any federal benefits to legally married gay or lesbian couples. This is clearly discriminatory.

Hearings on S598 begin in the Senate on Wednesday.