US Senator Dianne Feinstein (California) has introduced a bill for a limited Respect For Marriage Act, which would repeal DOMA, the Denial of Marriage Act. The bill, if it becomes law without any other changes in law, would simply remove at least a portion of the unconstitutional DOMA so that same-sex marriages created in states or countries that currently recognize them would be recognized by the US government. Currenty, no same-sex marriages are.
Reading the language of the bill, it appears to me that it is possible that if one state were to gain the polygamous freedom to marry or the consanguineous freedom to marry (or, do the right thing and institute full marriage equality), the US government would recognize those marriages, too.
The Respect for Marriage Act would repeal DOMA and restore the rights of all lawfully married couples – including tens of thousands of same-sex couples – to receive the benefits of marriage under federal law.
Under current law, legally married, same-sex couples cannot take advantage of federal protections available to every other married couple in this country. These couples cannot:
File joint federal income taxes and claim certain deductions;
Receive spousal benefits under Social Security;
Take unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act when a loved one falls seriously ill;
Obtain the protections of the estate tax when one spouse passes and wants to leave his or her possessions to another.
And this is important to note…
Joining Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) are co-sponsors: Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), John Kerry (D-Mass.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Frank R. Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Mark Udall (D-Colo.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Dan Inouye (D-Hawaii), and Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii).
It’s a good start, but I call on these Senators to make history for equality and propose the Marriage Equality Amendment.