The American Humanist Association supports the Respect for Marriage Act, which would effectively repeal the anti-LGBT Defense of Marriage Act in its entirety. The American Humanist Association supports the marriage rights of all citizens, regardless of sexual orientation. The LGBT community should no longer be discriminated against in the eyes of the federal government.
In July, the Senate Judiciary Committee held the first-ever Congressional hearing on whether to repeal DOMA. The day before, President Obama, in a rare move, formally endorsed Sen. Feinstein's bill -- the Respect for Marriage Act -- to repeal DOMA. That, combined with the 30 Senators who have publicly committed to repealing DOMA, means we have a lot of momentum.
But Sen. Reed is not one of those 30 Senators, even after July's hearing. Meanwhile, constituents like Beth Vorro and Elizabeth Coderre, together for 26 years, are treated by the federal government as if they're strangers -- and face significant financial disadvantages because of it. This affects hundreds if not thousands of similar couples in Rhode Island. It's time for Sen. Reed to support full federal equality for constituents like Beth and Elizabeth.
WinLiberty supports S. 598.
This is about Equal Protection Under the Law.
Marriage is and ought to remain an agreement between individuals.
There is no legitimate governmental purpose in the private, consensual agreement between marital partners.
The Respect for Marriage Act (RMA) repeals DOMA and restores the rights of all lawfully married couples—including same-sex couples—to receive the benefits of marriage under federal law. The bill also provides same-sex couples with certainty that federal benefits and protections would flow from a valid marriage celebrated in a state where such marriages are legal, even if a couple moves or travels to another state.
By repealing Section 2, the Respect for Marriage Act returns to traditional principles of comity and Full Faith and Credit. Under the RMA, same-sex couples and their families would be eligible for important federal benefits and protections such as family and medical leave or Social Security spousal and survivors’ benefits, but the federal government could not grant state-level rights. The bill does not require states that have not yet enacted legal protections for same-sex couples to recognize a marriage. Nor does it obligate any person, state, locality, or religious organization to celebrate or license a marriage between two persons of the same sex. This legislation only requires the federal government to equally apply its policy of looking to the states in determining what legal relationships are eligible for federal benefits.
The Respect for Marriage Act would end the federal government’s 13-year old policy under DOMA of singling out legally married same-sex couples for discriminatory treatment by denying more than a thousand federal rights and protections of marriage.
"DOMA was a radical departure from the way federal government has treated married couples throughout most of American history. It makes more sense to respect marriages than to destabilize them. In America, we don't have second-class citizens and we shouldn't have second-class marriages either."--Evan Wolfson, executive director of Freedom to Marry
The Respect for Marriage Act repeals DOMA and affects only federal law. It would not require a state to recognize a valid marriage performed by another jurisdiction. Nor would it obligate any person, organization, locality or state to celebrate or license a marriage between two persons of the same sex. What it would do, however, is end the unconscionable denial of equal protection under federal law to lawfully married same-sex couples and their families.
Under DOMA, LGBT couples and their families are denied the more than 1,100 federal protections and responsibilities that apply to married opposite-sex couples.
To take but one example, Edith "Edie" Windsor and her late spouse, Thea Spyer, shared a lifetime together and were a couple for 44 years. Windsor filed a lawsuit against the federal government for refusing to recognize their marriage and imposing a $350,000 tax on Spyer's estate when she died that Windsor would not have had to pay if she were married to a man.
BACKGROUND: The Judiciary Committee of the United States Senate has scheduled a hearing on November 3, 2011, to vote on a bill that would repeal the federal Defense of Marriage Act (known as DOMA). DOMA was passed in 1996 by a wide bipartisan margin and signed into law by then-President Clinton. DOMA defines marriage as the union of one man and one woman and requires federal agencies to apply this definition to all federal policies.
Repealing DOMA would allow the Administration to redefine marriage as the union of any two adults and invite the courts to impose this new definition in the states. Thus the repeal of DOMA would have a national impact.
Protecting marriage as the faithful and lifelong union of one man and one woman is critical to the common good, and DOMA is essential to protecting marriage.
CHURCH TEACHING: Marriage is not only a spiritual good authored by God but it is also a unique and fundamental public good. Its unchangeable definition as the union of one man and one woman is based on sexual difference and the unique complementarity between man and woman, which enables only them to unite as spouses. Every child has the right to be reared and loved by both mother and father, and unparalleled social benefits accrue from the bond of husband and wife. The family, founded upon marriage as the union of a man and a woman, is the key cell of society. Protecting marriage is essential to upholding the common good.