Sunday, October 30, 2011

Defense of Marriage Act - #3372 - Senate Committee to Consider DOMA Repeal Next Week - Citizen Link

DON'T BE FOOLED BY THE TITLE - The Respect for Marriage Act S.598 - Passage would repeal the Federal Defense of Marriage Act.

On Nov. 3, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to begin debate on a bill that would effectively repeal the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), opening the gate to same-sex marriage nationwide.  “It will be an end run around all the states that have decided to protect marriage,” said CitizenLink Federal Issues Analyst Ashley Horne.  More than 40 states have passed either laws or constitutional amendments defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman; earlier this year, a national poll revealed 62 percent of Americans think that’s the only way it should be defined.

The Respect for Marriage Act — S. 598, introduced by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., in March — could receive a committee vote anytime between Nov. 3 and Nov. 10. All 10 Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee support it, outnumbering the eight Republicans there, so passage is likely. Once it reaches the full Senate, however, the bill’s prospects become less clear.  “We don’t have a pro-family majority in the Senate right now, so it’s possible this bill would pass,” said Horne. “But we’ll continue to educate senators about the benefits of marriage for children and for society at large.”  A companion bill in the U.S. House of Representatives, H.R. 1116, has 129 sponsors from both parties. President Obama has pledged to sign any bill repealing DOMA that reaches his desk.  Should that happen, same-sex couples would be eligible for federal marriage benefits nationwide—and both state and federal benefits if they live in a place where same-sex marriage is recognized, such as Massachusetts. The U.S. would also give marital benefits to same-sex couples legally married in another country, as long as at least one of them is a U.S. citizen.

In testifying before the Senate in July, Alliance Defense Fund Senior Legal Counsel Austin R. Nimocks noted government’s only interest in marriage, traditionally, is children—who fare best with married biological mothers and fathers.  “This legislation seeks to replace the essential public purposes of marriage with various private purposes,” he said. “Because of the fundamental truth that children are the product of sexual relationships between men and women, and that men and women each bring something important and unique to the table of parenting, this government maintains a compelling interest in protecting and preserving the institution of marriage as the union of one man and one woman.”


Several family advocates testified in the U.S. Senate against repealing the Defense of Marriage Act this summer. Read their comments.

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