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The day DOMA dies, Respect for Marriage Act is reintroduced in Congress

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York and Senator Dianne Feinstein of California today reintroduced the Respect for Marriage Act, the bill that would repeal the entirety of the federal so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and assure all married couples equal treatment for all federal programs and purposes.

The move swiftly followed today’s powerful ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court, striking down a central part of DOMA and calling into question marriage discrimination.

The bill was introduced in both houses with identical language intended to fully repeal DOMA, which imposed a gay exception on the ordinary ways in which the federal government respects couples lawfully married in states.

Evan Wolfson, founder and president of Freedom to Marry, released the following statement:

“With today’s decisive Supreme Court ruling applying constitutional command of equal protection to overturn a central part of the so-called ‘Defense of Marriage Act,’ Congress should move immediately to end federal marriage discrimination once and for all. Freedom to Marry applauds the sponsors and record numbers of supporters in both the House and Senate, and calls on Congress to get DOMA off the books and make clear that, while the federal government doesn’t tell states what to do, it must respect and protect all married couples throughout the U.S. As the Supreme Court today reaffirmed, in America we don’t have second-class citizens, and we shouldn’t have second-class marriages, either.”

Over the past two years, Freedom to Marry’s bipartisan federal team has held more than 100 meetings with members of Congress and their staffs on the harms of DOMA and the need for passage of the Respect for Marriage Act. Freedom to Marry also launched and co-chairs the Respect for Marriage Coalition, a coalition of more than 100 health, civil rights, labor, LGBT, and other organizations that works to grow cosponsors on the Respect for Marriage Act and advance the freedom to marry inside the Beltway. As a result of this work together with our partners, we’ve grown support for the legislation on Capitol Hill from 18 Senators and 108 Representatives at the time of the bill’s introduction in 2011 to 41 Senators and 161 Representatives today.