Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Congressman Nadler to Submit Legislation to Repeal DOMA

The Bay Area Reporter (BAR), in an exclusive interview with Congressman Jerry Nadler (D-New York), reports that the U.S. Representative plans on submitting legislation that would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. However, the bill would rule out anything other than marriage, consequentially only extending federal benefits to only marriages and not domestic partnerships or civil unions.

"No, it will not include domestic partnerships or civil unions. It is going to be just marriage," Nadler said.

The BAR reports:
Under DOMA's Section 3 the federal government is forbidden from recognizing LGBT couples married in the six states where same-sex marriage is legal. Section 2 of the law says those states that outlaw same-sex marriages do not have to recognize legal same-sex marriages from other states. Nadler said his bill would repeal both sections of DOMA.

"We have got to repeal DOMA and have got to make sure it accomplishes for federal purposes allowing the federal government to recognize same-sex marriages," said Nadler, who led the fight to defeat a Federal Marriage Amendment that would have enshrined the same-sex marriage ban in the U.S. Constitution. "The time for dumping DOMA is long overdue."

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Nadler said that including domestic partnerships or civil unions in his legislation "gets very complicated" because the laws governing such legally recognized relationships are "different in every state." Also, he said it would cloud the legislation's end goal, which is ensuring all Americans, regardless of their sexual orientation, have the right to marry.

"Historically domestic partnerships and other relationships have been an interregnum until we get to marriage, which we need to push for as soon as possible," said Nadler, adding that he could not predict what chances the legislation has of passage. "We have to see what reaction we get. It won't pass this year."
With concerns to California, only the 18,000 couples that got married before Prop 8 would get recognition. However, couples could go to states where marriage equality is legal and get married there. They could then return to California and the state would then be legally bound to recognize their marriage.

"During his prepared remarks, Nadler said he would include the 'certainty provision' in his bill in order to give same-sex couples and their families peace of mind that should they move to a state that does not allow same-sex couples to wed their marriage would still be valid," the BAR article says.

This is great news. America Blog reminded its readers the strong support that Nadler has shown for the LGBT population in the past.

When the infamous DOMA brief was released, Nadler said, "For my part, I have long objected to DOMA as unfair and unconstitutional, and I am working toward a legislative solution that will ensure security and equality for all American families. I urge my colleagues to contact me and join the effort toward equality for LGBT Americans."

In a week that for me personally has pushed my optimism to the breaking point, this gives me hope. Sure, it's far from certain that this will go anywhere, but the fact that a powerful ally is working along with us to make a difference really brightens my day.

Contact Rep. Nadler and thank him for his support.

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