Today, Congressman Jerrold Nadler (NY-10) and Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), authors of the “Respect for Marriage Act” in the House and Senate respectively, welcomed the report by the Department of Justice (DOJ) on implementation of the Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Windsor.
“The Supreme Court’s Windsor decision confirmed that our constitutional promise of equality for all cannot be denied to lesbian and gay Americans. But it was then up to the Administration to help make this promise a reality for the thousands of married same-sex couples around the country who have been excluded under DOMA from federal programs that provide much-needed security for American families,” said Congressman Nadler. “Over the past year, the Administration has painstakingly reviewed the thousands of laws impacted by DOMA, issuing guidelines for recognizing couples whenever and – as today’s report confirms – unfortunately concluding that there are certain circumstances where the law still prevents full and equal recognition.”
“I welcome the Justice Department’s call for passage of our legislation to finally repeal DOMA once and for all and ensure that legally-married, same-sex couples are treated equally under federal law, regardless of where they live,” said Senator Feinstein. “The Justice Department today made clear what we have known all along: the only way key federal agencies like the Social Security Administration and Department of Veterans Affairs can fully implement the Windsor decision is by enacting the DOMA repeal legislation I introduced with Congressman Nadler.”
Both Congressman Nadler and Senator Feinstein led the effort in response to the Windsor decision.
The same day the Supreme Court ruled in United States v. Windsor that a key part of DOMA is unconstitutional, Congressman Nadler and Senator Feinstein introduced the Respect for Marriage Act in their respective chambers (H.R. 2523 and S. 1236).
Immediately following that ruling, Senator Feinstein led a group of 39 senators in urging President Obama to swiftly implement the decision to ensure that legally-married, same-sex couples are treated equally under federal law, regardless of where they live. Congressman Nadler and several colleagues in the House sent a similar letter urging the President and his Administration to implement the Windsor decision fully and quickly by reviewing the relevant laws and recognizing married same-sex couples wherever possible. Congressman Nadler and Senator Feinstein helped spearhead the amicus brief submitted by 212 members of Congress in United States v. Windsor, the case that successfully challenged DOMA’s federal definition of marriage as excluding married same-sex couples.
“I commend the administration for the painstaking work it has done to go through more than 1,100 federal laws affected by DOMA and implement as much of the decision as possible. But the only way we will achieve full equality under federal law for legally-married, same-sex couples is to enact our bill,” said Senator Feinstein.
“Congress must act quickly and pass the Respect for Marriage Act which I introduced with Senator Feinstein. The bill would repeal DOMA in its entirety and ensure that couples that have entered into the lifelong commitment of lawful marriage are treated equally under Federal law regardless of where they live,” said Congressman Nadler. “I applaud President Obama in working to create a more equal nation and stand with him in his call to pass the Respect for Marriage Act. We still have much more to do in the fight for LGBT equality.”