Thursday, November 10, 2011

Senate Committee Votes to Advance “Respect for Marriage Act”

Today the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 10 to 8 along party lines in favor of the Respect for Marriage Act (S. 598). Originally authored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and co-sponsored by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), RMA would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) which currently prohibits marriage equality at the federal level. The bill must now be scheduled by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) for a full Senate discussion. “[I]f I have to reintroduce it next session, I’ll reintroduce it,” said Sen. Feinstein, stating her dedication to passing the repeal bill. “[W]e’ll just march on. We’ll continue this.” [Politico]

Though a House version of this bill is not expected to be seen during this congressional session, the historic nature of today’s vote cannot be denied. In addition to the advancement of RMA in the committee stage, the 30 Senate co-sponsors and 132 House co-sponsors who support the marriage ban repeal, the current administration which declared DOMA to be unconstitutional, and more than 50% of Americans who support the repeal, come together to form a strong foundation of national support.

Sen. Gillibrand comments on the importance of today’s progressive vote toward marriage equality: “This is a major step forward to end the discrimination that is currently enshrined into the U.S. law…Marriage is the true foundation for strong families. Every loving, committed couple deserves the basic human right to get married…no politician should stand in the way of this fact.”

Take Action: With your help, we can continue to raise awareness about the importance of federally recognized marriage equality. Take a moment to contact your U.S. Senator. If they do currently support the repeal of DOMA then send them a thank you letter! If they do not, urge them to support the Respect for Marriage Act once it reaches the Senate floor in order to give committed couples around the country the federal rights they deserve.

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