New Jersey Senator Announces Support for DOMA Repeal Bill

Author: Andrew Harmon
Publication: The Advocate
Publication Date: December 18th, 2011

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In a Sunday op-ed, New Jersey senator Robert Menendez announced his support for a bill that would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. 

“Since my vote in favor of the Defense of Marriage Act 15 years ago, like tens of millions of Americans, I have reflected deeply and frequently about this issue,” Sen. Menendez wrote in the New JerseyStar-Ledger

“During this time, I have engaged in discussions about the issue of marriage equality with friends, family members, colleagues and of course, the people I serve in New Jersey,” he continued. “I have heard and listened to many different views. … But for me, this comes down to an issue of fundamental fairness. For me, this comes down to the principles I learned as the child of immigrants and that I cherish as an American: that we believe in equality for all people under the law.” 

Menendez becomes the 32nd sponsor of the Senate bill introduced by Sen. Dianne Feinstein. The Senate version has yet to attract any Republican support (the House version has one GOP cosponsor, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida).

Last week, a coalition of advocates for repeal of the antigay law delivered several thousand signatures to Senator Susan Collins of Maine, a key GOP supporter of “don’t ask, don’t tell” repeal who has yet to sign onto the DOMA repeal bill. The House version of the bill, introduced by Congressman Jerrold Nadler of New York, currently has 134 cosponsors.

Steve Goldstein, chair of Garden State Equality, called Menendez's decision "a spectacular moment in our movement to end discrimination in marriage.” (Read the press release on the senator's co-sponsorship via Freedom to Marry here.)