The denial of the freedom to marry is one of the harshest inequalities inflicted on lesbian and gay Americans and their families. In addition to being deprived of the personal significance and social recognition that comes with marriage, exclusion from marriage deprives same-sex couples of a vital legal and economic safety net that touches every aspect of life.
And while five states (CT, NH, IA, VT, & MA) and the District of Columbia have extended marriage to same-sex couples, federal law—specifically the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)—continues to ignore and discriminate against thousands of loving and committed families. Enacted in 1996, DOMA excludes legally married same- sex couples from the more than a thousand federal responsibilities and protections of marriage, including Social Security survivor benefits, fair treatment by the IRS, and the ability to sponsor a spouse for a visa or citizenship.
During his campaign, President Obama vowed to take action to bring an end to this discriminatory policy once and for all:
“I support the complete repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) – a position I have held since before arriving in the U.S. Senate. While some say we should repeal only part of the law, I believe we should get rid of that statute altogether. Federal law should not discriminate in any way against gay and lesbian couples, which is precisely what DOMA does.”
Urge President Obama to fulfill his campaign promise to repeal DOMA.