Hours after the U.S. Supreme Court found Section 3 of the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional, lawmakers in both the House and the Senate reintroduced the Respect for Marriage Act (RMA). RMA would fully remove DOMA from the books and establish a clear rule for the federal government that all married same-sex couples – regardless of what state they currently live in – have access to equal rights, benefits, and protections under federal law.
“Today’s historic victories at the Supreme Court impact same-sex couples across the country, but there’s much work ahead of us to ensure that every couple can fully enjoy the recognition Justice Kennedy so eloquently wrote about in the majority opinion in Windsor,” said HRC President Chad Griffin.
“The Respect for Marriage Act will finally expunge DOMA’s discrimination from our nation’s laws and provide certainty to every married same-sex couple that their federal recognition will follow them wherever they may live or travel.”
The Respect for Marriage Act was introduced in the House by Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) and 160 cosponsors, including bipartisan support from Republican Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and Richard Hanna (R-NY). Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) is sponsoring the Senate version. Forty Senators have signed-on as co-sponsors.
Federal agencies can and must change their policies, regulations, or practices to ensure same-sex couples – regardless of where they live – have access to the federal benefits and protections they deserve.
However, the Respect for Marriage Act would, in one action, create a single, government-wide rule that lawfully married same-sex couples living in states where their marriage is not recognized can equally access all federal benefits and protections.
“We have an obligation to ensure every same-sex couple – whether they live in Arkansas or New York, Kansas or California, can share in today’s emotional and deserved victory,” added Griffin. “We have momentum on our side, and it’s only a matter of time until the remaining parts of DOMA are entirely repealed.”