Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Repeal of Defense of Marriage Act introduced in Congress


From Instinct: "In the House, the Respect for Marriage Act (RMA) was introduced by Reps. Jerry Nadler, John Conyers, Barney Frank, Tammy Baldwin, Jared Polis and David Cicilline, with Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer sponsoring that chamber's bill. The House version also counts 100 co-sponsors.  In the Senate, which is looking at DOMA repeal for the first time, Sens. Dianne Feinstein, Patrick Leahy and Kirsten Gillibrand introduced the legislation."

At the press conference to announce the repeal bill, House Democrats called on citizens who were legally married in their state but denied rights affording to heterosexual couples under the law. Edie Windsor, 81, spoke about her 44-year relationship with Thea Spyer. When Spyer died in 2008, Windsor paid more than $360,000 in federal estate taxes because the government did not recognize their marriage.

Obviously, there's more chance of passing in the Democrat controlled Senate. There are about 20 co-sponsors in the Senate. With Republican control of the House and the much more conservative Tea Party freshmen in that chamber, I'm not too optimistic about passage there.

There would be a strange irony in the Tea Party members opposing the repeal of DOMA: Tea Partiers stand for states rights. The basis of their position seems to always be "let states govern themselves." If that's the case, and a state decides to allow marriage equality, then the federal government should honor those marriages like any other states' marriage. I'll be curious to see how they argue this among themselves.

But - it's all about steps, kids. Forward. No fear.

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