Just hours after yesterday’s historic Supreme Court rulings, Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) reintroduced in the Senate, the Respect For Marriage Act, (RMA,) which would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA,) and relegate it to history’s (overstuffed) bad-law dumpster. The bill would declare all married couples, in all 50 states, and of any gender composition, equal rights and equal benefits and equal protections, under federal law. Senator Feinstein introduced the same bill in March of 2011. Two years ago, the bill had 17 Senate co-sponsors. This incarnation, it has 40. So far, I could find no Republican senator who has says he will filibuster the bill.
At the same time Senator Feinstein filed the RMA in the Senate, an identical bill was introduced into the House. Rep. Jerrold Nadler, (D-NY) filed the RMA with the support of 160 co-sponsors, including at least 2 Republicans, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and Richard Hanna (R-NY). Passage of the RMA through the House is, as usual, made difficult by the Tea Party Caucus who are not yet ready to abandon DOMA. Representatives Michele Bachmann (R-MN)and Louis Gohmert (R-TX) have already taken to the TV cameras to predict the Supreme Court’s decision will lead to the end of the universe as we know it – or words to that effect. Speaker Boehner has so far had no comment.
Whether it was a symbolic move to afford lawmakers a chance to jump on the equality train, or a substantive move that will end with DOMA repealed, I don’t know. Either way, it is a move in the right direction. After the Supreme Court decision, there should be a vote. Every senator and every congressman should be forced to answer this question on the record, for the history books: Are you for equality? Or are you not?
Photo from Wiki Commons
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