Breaking: Senate Hearing on DOMA expected in “coming weeks”

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, announced today the Committee will hold the first congressional hearing on repealing the so-called Defense of Marriage Act in the “coming weeks.”

DOMA prevents the federal government from honoring legal marriages between same-sex couples denying those families more than 1,100 responsibilities and protections including Social Security survivor benefits, the option to file taxes jointly, and the ability to sponsor a spouse for U.S. citizenship. 

The move comes just days after DOJ filed a brief attacking DOMA in a lawsuit brought by Karen Golinski, a federal court employee who is seeking equal health insurance coverage for her wife that would be available for a male federal court employee for his wife. The DOJ brief strongly argued that Section 3 of DOMA is unconstitutional. Earlier today, a DOJ spokesperson -- in conjunction with a filing seeking to withdraw from an appeal in another case -- wrote that, regarding certain bankruptcy cases, that DOJ "will no longer seek dismissal of bankruptcy petitions filed jointly by same-sex debtors who are married under state law."

The Respect for Marriage Act, a bill that would repeal DOMA, has been introduced in the House and Senate. The bill currently has 26 sponsors in the Senate.

Click here to contact your members of Congress in support of the Respect for Marriage Act.