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DOMA Repeal Scheduled for First Ever Hearing

July 15, 2011 - by Donny Shaw

For the first time ever, a committee in Congress will hold a hearing on repealing the Clinton-era Defense of Marriage Act and requiring states to recognize all marriages that are considered valid in the state where the marriage was conducted.

The bill in question, entitled the “Respect for Marriage Act,” is scheduled for a July 20 hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Here’s the bill:

Sec. 7. Marriage

‘(a) For the purposes of any Federal law in which marital status is a factor, an individual shall be considered married if that individual’s marriage is valid in the State where the marriage was entered into or, in the case of a marriage entered into outside any State, if the marriage is valid in the place where entered into and the marriage could have been entered into in a State.

‘(b) In this section, the term ‘State’ means a State, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or any other territory or possession of the United States.’

Likelihood of the bill becoming law this session is basically zero percent. It’s hard to imagine it overcome a filibuster in the Senate and the Republican-dominated House definitely isn’t going to take it up. The skeptic in me wants to say that the only real effect of this hearing will be to help Democrats shore up votes from the gay-rights community. On the other hand, as the marriage equality movement continues to grow and more states recognize same-sex marriage, it makes sense for Congress to look at the issues involved in DOMA again. In that way, the hearing is progress, even if it doesn’t increase likelihood of the current bill becoming law.

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  • BlackVidal 07/15/2011 8:12pm

    My Congressman, Herrera-Beutler said she would defend that marriage was between a man and a woman, to my great disappointment. According to Merriam-Webster’s Pocket Dictionary, 25th printing March, 1957: Marriage 1 State of being married; wedlock. 2 A wedding- Syn. Matrimony. Many agencies are trying hard to abolish child bride marriages. So woudn’t it be prudent to change the US government’s definition of marriage to read somewhere along the lines of a Union between two commited, consenting adult humans?

  • valleri 07/16/2011 7:25am

    I really wish they would focus 100% of their attention on the economy. Especially with large budget cuts coming, which will impact all states and cities, our economy is destined to get much worse.

  • copatriot 07/30/2011 8:04am

    Some things are difficult to come to consensus on. This is certainly one of those hotly contested items. Marriage has a traditionally important meaning, as that union made between a man and a woman. Its implications are social, economic, and even have legal consequences (ask anyone who has ever dissolved a marriage). I believe that marriage should continue to recognized as such, a union between a man and a woman.

    I believe that a civil union between consenting adults would be the appropriate union between other consenting adults. I do not personally support such a union, and most churches will not perform a sanctioned ceremony for such purposes.

    The issue of same-sex unions have their own implications, which couples in these unions wish to have the ability to gain greater access to healthcare benefits, and have a joint filing tax status. The economic implications are what is being jousted over.

    Civil unions will accomplish the same effect, and will make this a non-issue.

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