HRC Blog

Senate to Hold Historic Markup of DOMA Repeal

Today Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy announced that the committee will be holding a markup on the Respect for Marriage Act, the bill to repeal the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act.  DOMA bans the federal government from recognizing legally married same-sex couples and denies loving and committed families equal benefits and equal dignity.

The Respect for Marriage Act had a hearing before the committee in July where HRC President Joe Solmonese testified.  It was the first time that DOMA had a hearing in Congress since its enactment 15 years ago and this markup represents another historic first.

DOMA prevents any of the over 1,100 federal rights, benefits and responsibilities of marriage from being afforded to legally married same-sex couples.  These include Social Security survivor benefits, federal employee health benefits for spouses, protections against spouses losing their homes in cases of severe medical emergencies, the right to sponsor a foreign born partner for immigration, the guarantee of family and medical leave and the ability to file joint tax returns, among many others.  51 percent of voters oppose DOMA while only 34 percent favor it, according to a March 2011 poll by HRC and Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research.

Watch Joe’s testimony before the hearing here: 

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