Freedom to Marry Celebrates First Republican Cosponsor of DOMA Repeal Bill


Press Contact:
Jackie Yodashkin
Communications Director, Freedom to Marry

(Washington, D.C., September 23, 2011) – Today, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) announced that she would be the first Republican member of Congress to cosponsor the Respect for Marriage Act (H.R. 1116), sponsored by Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), to repeal the so-called Defense of Marriage Act.

"Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen's support for this important bill confirms that equal respect for all marriages is a bipartisan, mainstream value,” said Evan Wolfson, founder and President of Freedom to Marry, the campaign to win marriage nationwide.  “Working with Representatives Ros-Lehtinen and Nadler, and the Respect for Marriage Act's 125 co-sponsors, Freedom to Marry will continue to make the case to Republican and Democratic members of Congress that it's time to return the federal government to its proper role of honoring all marriages legal in the states -- without a gay exception."

Freedom to Marry’s bipartisan lobby team met with Ros-Lehtinen’s office in July along with the Log Cabin Republicans.  The meeting was part of Freedom to Marry’s national campaign effort to make the case on Capitol Hill, inside the Beltway, and throughout the country that the freedom to marry is a mainstream American cause rather than a partisan one.  The campaign is geared toward growing public support and helping to create an environment for Congress or the U.S. Supreme Court to dismantle discrimination in marriage.

“Freedom to Marry has two goals in our GOP lobbying work – enlisting the first Republican cosponsors on the Respect for Marriage Act, and educating GOP members of Congress about why same-sex couples want to marry and the harms of DOMA,” said Freedom to Marry National Campaign Director Marc Solomon.  “Since we embarked on this effort several months ago, Freedom to Marry’s bipartisan lobby team has met with more than a dozen GOP House members.  Each of them has told us that they'd never been engaged directly on this matter before and they have welcomed the conversation."

To grow support in DC, Freedom to Marry, in addition to direct congressional visits, is hosting salons with DC opinion leaders including GOP operatives and right-of-center thought-leaders to generate conversations about the political and moral case for the freedom to marry.  Rep. Ros-Lehtinen will become the unprecedented 125th cosponsor on the bill, surpassing last Congress’s total of 120 cosponsors.


Freedom to Marry is the campaign to win marriage nationwide. We are pursuing our Roadmap to Victory by working to win the freedom to marry in more states, grow the national majority for marriage, and end federal marriage discrimination. We partner with individuals and organizations across the country to end the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage and the protections, responsibilities, and commitment that marriage brings.