DOMA Repeal Bill Announcement This Week
March 14, 2011
On Wednesday members of Congress will announce the reintroduction of the Respect for Marriage Act, which would end federal marriage discrimination by repealing DOMA. The bill already has more than 100 co-sponsors, and President Obama has voiced his support for repeal.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler introduced the same bill last year and has been saying he would do so again. He's being joined Wednesday by openly gay House members Barney Frank, Tammy Baldwin, Jared Polis, and David Cicilline, as well as civil rights leader Rep. John Conyers.
Also present at the announcement will be some of the people directly hurt by DOMA: plaintiffs from the lawsuits challenging the law in court, like Nancy Gill and Marcelle Letourneau. The Massachusetts couple has two children, and got married in 2004. But the federal government won't let Nancy add Marcelle to the health insurance she gets through working for the U.S. Postal Service. They won the first round of their suit last summer, when U.S. District Judge Joseph Tauro ruled DOMA unconstitutional.
Nancy and Marcelle's case is just one of at least ten lawsuits that GOP House leaders committed last week to defending against, now that President Obama's Justice Department has pulled out, declaring the law unconstitutional. There's so much work to do defending DOMA that the House will have to hire private lawyers to do it. Now Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi wrote a letter formally asking House Speaker John Boehner just how much that's going to cost.
A DOMA repeal bill will also be introduced soon in the Senate by Senators Dianne Feinstein, Patrick Leahy, and Kirsten Gillibrand.