50,000 of you took our survey on how the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) harms families. And with Congress back in session this week, we personally delivered your responses – and thousands of heartfelt comments – to help build the case for repealing this discriminatory law. Now is the time to really put the pressure on and tell Congress it’s time to Repeal DOMA Now (which is coincidentally the name of our new campaign).
In the past year, tens of thousands of loving same-sex couples have legally been married in Massachusetts, California, Connecticut, Iowa and Vermont. And with new laws soon to take effect in New Hampshire and Maine, thousands more will surely join them. Enacted in 1996, the Defense of Marriage Act purports to allow states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.
DOMA also creates a federal definition of “marriage” and “spouse” for the first time in our country’s history. This is an unprecedented intrusion by the U.S. Congress into an area traditionally left to the states. Marriage is defined as a “legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife,” and spouse is defined as “a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.” Marriages that do not fit this description are not eligible for any benefits offered by the federal government. Under DOMA, even same-sex couples lawfully married under the laws of their states are ineligible for numerous rights, benefits, and responsibilities, including those related to Social Security, immigration, family and medical leave, joint taxation, federal employee benefits and many more.
If you want to get started, go to HRC's action page and send a letter to our Congresscritters asking them to give married LGBT families the same federal rights and responsibilities they provide to married hetero families. As I've explained before, DOMA really has no legal ground to stand upon. Either it will eventually be overturned in the courts or Congress will do its job and get rid of this heinous "law" now. Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-New York) will be introducing the bill next week, so let's whip some real support for it in Congress to make it happen!