The Senate Judiciary Committee approved the Respect for Marriage Act today. The bill would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act which bans same-sex marriages from federal recognition and allows states to ignore marriages performed in states where same-sex marriage is legal.
"Today's vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee puts us one step closer to ending federal marriage discrimination," said HRC President Joe Solmonese. "We thank the members of the Judiciary Committee who stood up for LGBT families and particularly thank Chairman Leahy and Senator Feinstein for their leadership in fighting this unjust law."
The committee held a meeting in July to discuss the issue - a first since passage of DOMA. Today's vote is the culmination of a massive lobbying effort by several LGBT organizations and pro-marriage equality politicians.
"Today's vote represents real progress toward a repudiation of the radically unfair, misnamed Defense of Marriage Act," said Evan Wolfson, founder and President of Freedom to Marry. "We are one step closer to eliminating DOMA's gay exception, which unfairly withholds the federal protections and responsibilities of marriage from loving and committed same-sex couples who are legally married."
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, an original sponsor of the Respect for Marriage Act added, "This is a major step forward to end the discrimination that is currently enshrined into U.S. law, and I applaud Chairman Leahy for pushing us forward. Marriage is the true foundation for strong families. Every loving, committed couple deserves the basic human right to get married, start a family, and have access to all the same rights and privileges that my husband and I enjoy. No politician should stand in the way of this fact."
"If Democrats and Republicans can come together to do what's right in New York, I know we can do the same in Congress to do what's right for all of America. Now is the time to act on the federal level."