Freedom to Marry Statement on First-Ever Hearing to Repeal “Defense of Marriage Act”


Freedom to Marry Statement on First-Ever Hearing to Repeal "Defense of Marriage Act"

Hearing Date Set for July 20 at 10 AM

Press Contact:
Sean Eldridge
Senior Advisor, Freedom to Marry

(New York, NY, July 12, 2011) –  “With thousands of loving and committed couples in New York set to marry this month, now is the perfect time for the Senate to begin the process of repealing the discriminatory so-called Defense of Marriage Act,” said Freedom to Marry National Campaign Director Marc Solomon.  “Until DOMA’s enactment, the federal government had always honored marriages celebrated in the states. It’s time for Congress to end this gay exception and allow legally married same-sex couples access to the tools and security available to all other couples to build a life together and protect their families.”

DOMA prevents married same-sex couples from caring for and taking responsibility for each other by excluding them from the 1,138 federal laws in which marital status is a factor.  As a result, these couples are denied the essential federal safety-net couples pay for with their tax dollars, including: sharing Social Security benefits with a spouse, sponsoring a spouse for a green card or citizenship, filing joint federal tax returns, receiving the protections spouses are entitled to under the federal estate tax, and access to family medical leave.   The Respect for Marriage Act repeals DOMA in its entirety, returning the federal government to a neutral position that respects all couples married according to state law.   
“Freedom to Marry is proud to be working closely with Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, lead sponsor Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Senator Richard Blumenthal  and others to advance the Respect for Marriage Act,” said Solomon.
Since opening a Washington presence earlier this year, Freedom to Marry has played a key leadership role in advancing the Respect for Marriage Act and fighting for the repeal of DOMA.  Federal Director Jo Deutsch has worked closely with House and Senate Judiciary Committee staff and our bipartisan team of lobbyists has met with Democratic and Republican members of Congress and their staff on the Respect for Marriage Act.  Additionally, Freedom to Marry’s field team is working closely with state partners to set up constituent meetings with members of Congress to share real stories about the harms of DOMA.  This year, Freedom to Marry members have sent more than 25,000 email messages to Congressmembers lobbying for passage of the Respect for Marriage Act, in nearly every legislative district in the country. 



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.