People For the American Way

Dumping DOMA: The Next Step

As Miranda pointed out yesterday:

[T]he effort to overturn DOMA is not over. While Section 3 was the law’s most damaging provision, DOMA’s Section 2, which says that states don’t have to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states, still stands.

Though Section 3 exists no more, PFAW will continue working to formally take DOMA off the books and repeal Section 2.

Our champions on the Hill agree. Not long after the Supreme Court issued its ruling, Representative Nadler and Senator Feinstein reintroduced the Respect for Marriage Act, H.R. 2523/S. 1236.

Representative Nadler:

We salute today’s ruling. It is a tremendously important victory, but it is also a call to all of us to finish the job by passing the Respect for Marriage Act.

Senator Feinstein:

Our legislation is necessary because inequities in the administration of more than 1,100 federal laws affected by DOMA—including social security and veterans benefits—will still need to be fixed. It is time Congress strike this discriminatory law once and for all.

For example:

[T]he Social Security Act provides Survivors’ Benefits – which are critical for families after a spouse dies – based on the law of the state where the deceased spouse was domiciled at the time of death.

So, a married couple could live together for 40 years, contribute equally to the system, and then be stripped of what they have earned – just because they moved to another state for medical reasons before one spouse passed. That’s just not right.

Veterans benefits are based on the law of the state where the parties resided at the time of the marriage, or when the right to benefits accrued.

So, different veterans benefits might be granted or denied, depending on where a couple lived at different times, without any rhyme or reason. That’s not fair to former servicemembers who may have moved around as part of their military service.

PFAW is a strong supporter of the Respect for Marriage Coalition and applauds Representative Nadler, Senator Feinstein, and their 200 bipartisan cosponsors for taking swift action to dump DOMA.


Defense of Marriage Act, Dianne Feinstein, DOMA, Edie Windsor, Jerry Nadler, marriage, marriage equality, Respect for Marriage Act, Supreme Court, United States v. Windsor