Senate panel approves DOMA repeal legislation

From The Washington Blade:

By Chris Johnson
November 10, 2011

A Senate committee took historic action on Thursday against the Defense of Marriage Act by approving legislation that would lift the anti-gay law from the books.

The Senate Judiciary Committee reported the legislation to the floor by a vote of 10-8 along a party-line basis. Each of the 10 Democrats on the panel voted in favor of the legislation, while all 8 Republicans present opposed it.

The committee vote marks the first-time ever that any component of Congress has voted to repeal DOMA, which prohibits federal recognition of same-sex marriage, since it was first enacted in 1996.

Committee Chair Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) in his opening statement said legislation to repeal DOMA, which is known as the Respect for Marriage Act, is necessary because “thousands of American families are now being treated unfairly by their federal government.”

“They are shunted aside — singled out from all other marriages recognized by their states,” Leahy said. “This unfairness must end. The Respect for Marriage Act would provide for the equal treatment of all lawful treatment of all lawful marriages in this country by repealing DOMA.”

Whether the bill will come to a vote before the full Senate remains to be seen. In addition to Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the bill’s sponsor, the bill only has 30 co-sponsors — far short of the 60 votes needed to overcome a Senate filibuster.

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