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House Introduces DOMA Repeal Bill; Nat’l Orgs Respond

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Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-NY)  introduced the Respect for Marriage Act (RMA) today in Congress – a bill that seeks to overturn the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) of 1996.

The Human Rights Campaign noted in a press release on Tuesday that DOMA is a discriminatory policy that does concrete harm to loving and committed same-sex couples:

“Through DOMA, which was signed into law 13 years ago, on September 21, 1996, the federal government singles out legally married same-sex couples for discriminatory treatment under federal law, selectively denying them more than 1,100 federal protections and responsibilities… that otherwise apply to married couples. This policy is discriminatory and harmful to families… [who] have assumed the obligations of civil marriage under state law and contribute as citizens and taxpayers.”

The new bill that works toward achieving total equality is co-sponsored by Reps. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Jared Polis (D-CO), alongside 88 other members of Congress.

The Associated Press said in a Monday article that “there’s little chance of a vote this year.” A spokesman for Rep. Nadler noted, however, that the bill would be introduced now so as to “gain support and momentum and educate people.”

At a press conference today, Lambda Legal – an organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of LGBT people and those with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work – Executive Director, Kevin Carthcart, stood with Dawn and Jen BarbouRoske, who married earlier this summer in Iowa. Jen BarouRoske noted of the new bill that “When Dawn and I do our federal tax return next year, our own government will tell us to lie and say we’re not married. But we are, and the government that takes the same taxes and Social Security deductions fr0m our paychecks as fr0m everyone else’s, should give us the same legal rights, too.”

Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said of RMA:

“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.”

Rea Carey, Executive Director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Action Fund which strives to build the grassroots political power of the LGBT community to win complete equality, also commented on the introduction of the Respect for Marriage Act:

We at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, along with people all across the country — fr0m every town and every background — recognize that our entire nation benefits when everyone is allowed to contribute their talents and skills, free fr0m discrimination. That's why we are urging for passage of the 'Respect for Marriage Act.'

President Barack Obama has been a longtime supporter of repealing DOMA, though the president has received criticism for his apparent lack of action toward that cause.

GLAAD will continue to monitor the media’s coverage of efforts to repeal DOMA. Updates can be found on glaadBLOG.org

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