Nadler, Feinstein Introduce Bill to Ensure Rights of All Married Couples

Jan 6, 2015 Issues: LGBT Rights, Civil Rights

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Congressman Jerrold Nadler and Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen today introduced the Respect for Marriage Act, a bill to repeal the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act and ensure that all legally-married, same-sex couples are treated equally under federal law. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) introduced the companion bill in the Senate today. Joining them on the bill are 77 additional House cosponsors and 41 other senators.  A full list of House and Senate cosponsors is below. 

“We must finish the job begun by the Supreme Court by passing the Respect for Marriage Act.  The Supreme Court has ruled that Section 3 of DOMA is unconstitutional, but Congress still must repeal the law in its entirety,” said Representative Nadler, sponsor of the House bill.

Nadler continued: “The vast majority of Americans live in states where same-sex couples can marry and public support for marriage equality is growing stronger by the day.  Repeal of DOMA is long overdue.  That is why we are reintroducing the Respect for Marriage Act, which repeals DOMA in its entirety and sends DOMA into the history books where it belongs.  The bill provides a uniform rule for recognizing couples under federal law, ensuring that lawfully married couples will be recognized under federal law no matter where they live and guaranteeing that all families can plan for a future of mutual obligation and support with confidence.”

In June 2014, one year after the Supreme Court’s ruling in Windsor v. United States, the Department of Justice issued a report concluding that without legislation, married same-sex couples will continue to be denied critical federal benefits.

Specifically, the report concluded the government could not issue Social Security or veterans’ benefits to some married, same-sex couples because the agencies “are required by law to confer marriage-related benefits based on the law of the state in which the married couple reside or resided, preventing the extension of benefits to same-sex married couples” in certain states.

Kathy Murphy and Sara Barker illustrate the problem of denying federal benefits based on where couple has lived. The couple, together for more than 30 years, was married in Massachusetts but lived in Texas. When cancer took Barker’s life, Murphy was denied spousal survivor’s benefits and the standard lump-sum death payment awarded by the Social Security Administration because they lived in Texas. Murphy filed suit in federal court in October 2014 and her case is pending.

The Justice Department report stated that enactment of a bill like the Respect for Marriage Act would ensure that federal benefits are awarded equally and that the administration would “work closely with Congress to ensure that veterans and elderly and disabled Americans can obtain for themselves or their spouses the essential benefits they have earned no matter where they live.”

“Congress must repeal DOMA and ensure that married, same-sex couples are treated equally under federal law, which is what this bill will do,” said Senator Feinstein. “Only when this bill is passed will we be able to guarantee the federal rights, benefits and responsibilities of marriage for all loving couples. I call on my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support this bill.” 

The Senate bill has 42 original cosponsors in the Senate, including Senator Feinstein.  Other Senators who are original cosponsors are Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisc.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Robert Casey (D-Penn.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Angus King (I-Maine), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Christopher Murphy (D-Conn.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Jon Tester (D-MT), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Mark Warner (D-VA), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).

The House bill has 79 original cosponsors:

1

Rep.

Jerrold

Nadler

2

Rep.

Ileana

Ros-Lehtinen

3

Rep.

Nancy

Pelosi

4

Rep.

Steny

Hoyer

5

Rep.

James

Clyburn

6

Rep.

Xavier

Becerra

7

Rep.

Joe

Crowley

8

Rep.

John

Conyers

9

Rep.

Jared

Polis

10

Rep.

David N.

Cicilline

11

Rep.

Sean Patrick

Maloney

12

Rep.

Mark

Pocan

13

Rep.

Kyrsten

Sinema

14

Rep.

Mark

Takano

15

Rep.

Earl

Blumenauer

16

Rep.

Suzanne

Bonamici

17

Rep.

Julia

Brownley

18

Rep.

Mike

Capuano

19

Rep.

Tony

Cardenas

20

Rep.

Matt

Cartwright

21

Rep.

Judy

Chu

22

Rep.

Yvette

Clarke

23

Rep.

Gerald

Connolly

24

Rep.

Joe

Courtney

25

Rep.

Elijah

Cummings

26

Rep.

Susan

Davis

27

Rep.

Peter

DeFazio

28

Rep.

Diana

DeGette

29

Rep.

Ted

Deutch

30

Rep.

Mike

Doyle

31

Rep.

Sam

Farr

32

Rep.

Bill

Foster

33

Rep.

Lois

Frankel

34

Rep.

Tulsi

Gabbard

35

Rep.

Ruben

Gallego

36

Rep.

Raúl M.

Grijalva

37

Rep.

Janice

Hahn

38

Rep.

Alcee

Hastings

39

Rep.

Brian

Higgins

40

Rep.

Mike

Honda

41

Rep.

Jared

Huffman

42

Rep.

Steve

Israel

43

Rep.

Joe

Kennedy

44

Rep.

Dan

Kildee

45

Rep.

Derek

Kilmer

46

Rep.

Ann McLane

Kuster

47

Rep.

James R.

Langevin

48

Rep.

Barbara

Lee

49

Rep.

John

Lewis

50

Rep.

Dave

Loebsack

51

Rep.

Zoe

Lofgren

52

Rep.

Alan

Lowenthal

53

Rep.

Nita

Lowey

54

Rep.

Carolyn

Maloney

55

Rep.

Betty

McCollum

56

Rep.

Gwen

Moore

57

Rep.

Patrick

Murphy

58

Rep.

Eleanor Holmes

Norton

59

Rep.

Frank

Pallone

60

Rep.

Scott

Peters

61

Rep.

Chellie

Pingree

62

Rep.

Mike

Quigley

63

Rep.

Lucille

Roybal-Allard

64

Rep.

John

Sarbanes

65

Rep.

Jan

Schakowsky

66

Rep.

Adam

Schiff

67

Rep.

Robert "Bobby"

Scott

68

Rep.

Jose

Serrano

69

Rep.

Brad

Sherman

70

Rep.

Louise

Slaughter

71

Rep.

Adam

Smith

72

Rep.

Jackie

Speier

73

Rep.

Eric

Swalwell

74

Rep.

Dina

Titus

75

Rep.

Paul

Tonko

76

Rep.

Niki

Tsongas

77

Rep.

Chris

Van Hollen

78

Rep.

Debbie

Wasserman Schultz

79

Rep.

John

Yarmuth

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