The past six months, the “Defense of Marriage” act has taken a beating.Â Soon, hearings will be held regarding a proposal to replace the Defense of Marriage act with the “Respect for Marriage” act.
Can you imagine what the passing of this legislation would do to the gay marriage drama?
Those of us who want to marry our partner could go to a state that doesn’t hate gay people and buy our license and immediately begin enjoying equal protection under the law. Those of us who have married our partner years ago would instantly be granted the rights our society has given couples in long term relationships.
Pretty exciting stuff.
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) on Thursday announced that, in the coming weeks, the Committee will hold the first congressional hearing on proposals to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
Earlier this year, Leahy joined with Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and others to introduce the Respect for Marriage Act, a bill that would repeal DOMA and restore the rights of all lawfully married couples, including same-sex couples, to receive the benefits of marriage under federal law.
The hearing will mark the first ever hearing on the issue of repealing DOMA since its enactment nearly 15 years ago.
The hearing will be entitled â€œS.598, The Respect for Marriage Act: Assessing the Impact of DOMA on American Families,â€ and is expected to be held in the coming weeks. The hearing will be webcast live online.
The Defense of Marriage Act prohibits the federal government from recognizing legally married same-sex couples.
DOMA, enacted in 1996, prevents any of the over 1,100 federal rights, benefits and responsibilities of marriage from being afforded to legally married same-sex couples.
Those benefits 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.