Urge the United States House of Representatives, the United States Senate, and President Obama to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) by passing the Respect for Marriage Act (H.R. 1116).
What is the Respect for Marriage Act (RMA)?
The Respect for Marriage Act (RMA) (H.R. 1116/S.598), sponsored by U.S. Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-NY 8) and U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, is a bill that would repeal DOMA and restores the rights of all lawfully married couples-including same-sex couples-to receive the benefits of marriage under federal law. The bill also provides same-sex couples with certainty that federal benefits and protections would flow from a valid marriage celebrated in a state where such marriages are legal, even if a couple moves or travels to another state.
What is the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)?
In 1996, the United States Congress passed DOMA and was signed into law by then President Clinton. DOMA singles out lawfully married same-sex couples for unequal treatment under federal law. DOMA purports to allow states to refuse to recognize valid civil marriages of same-sex couples. Also DOMAcarves all same-sex couples, regardless of their marital status, out of all federal statutes, regulations, and rulings applicable to all other married people-thereby denying them over 1100 federal benefits and protections.
Not only does DOMA deny homosexuals their civil rights to marry, but it also prevents homosexual couples to file their taxes jointly, take unpaid leave to care for a sick or injured spouse, receive equal family health and pension benefits as federal civilian employees and receive spousal, mother's and father's, or surviving spouse benefits under Social Security.
What will the Respect for Marriage Act (RMA) do?
By repealing Section 2 of DOMA, the Respect for Marriage Act returns to traditional principles of comity and Full Faith and Credit. Under RMA, same-sex couples and their families would be eligible for important federal benefits and protections such as family and medical leave or Social Security spousal and survivors' benefits, but the federal government could not grant state-level rights. The bill does not require states that have not yet enacted legal protections for same-sex couples to recognize a marriage. Nor does it obligate any person, state, locality, or religious organization to celebrate or license a marriage between two persons of the same sex. This legislation only requires the federal government to equally apply its policy of looking to the states in determining what legal relationships are eligible for federal benefits.
What can you do to get the Respect for Marriage Act passed?
Please write to and/or call your U.S. Representatives and Senators and President Obama tell them to pass the Respect for Marriage Act (H.R. 1116/S.598). Also ask your U.S. Representatives and Senators to co-sponsor the Respect for Marriage Act.
Since being enacted in 1996, DOMA has discriminated against married same-sex couples by denying them equal protection under federal law. Currently, same-sex couples are denied more than 1,000 rights that are enjoyed by opposite-sex couples, including social security benefits and medical leave to care for a sick spouse.
There's now an opportunity to put an end to this outdated and discriminatory law by passing (H.R. 1116/S.598), The Respect for Marriage Act of 2011, which will grant same-sex couples the federal protection they deserve. Please strongly support this legislation.
I ask that the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate please vote yes, and co-sponsor this legislation. Also I ask that President Obama sign it into law.
Many thanks for considering my request and for your continued service on behalf of our country.
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