"Congress has acted on this issue some number of years ago, and I think that the Congress acted on [it] in a bi-partisan way. It is the law of the land and should remain the law of the land."The Respect For Marriage Act would repeal the current federal Defense Of Marriage Act (DOMA). DOMA does not allow the federal government to acknowledge the legal same-sex marriages from the seven jurisdictions that perform them in the United States (Iowa, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, Washington D.C., and tomorrow, New York) . This lack of recognition has many consequences for same-sex couples including, but not limited too, rights afforded to heterosexual couples in the areas of inheritance, taxes, federal benefits, and immigration.
The Defense Of Marriage Act has been under judicial scrutiny since last year, when Massachusetts Judge Joseph Tauro ruled against the law, saying that it violated the 14th and 10th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution. It has since been deemed unconstitutional by the Obama administration, which has refused to defend the law in federal court, as well as several courts around the nation.
The Respect For Marriage Act received its first public hearing on Wednesday in the Senate Judiciary Committee, with Democratic Senators Feinstein (CA), Leahy (VT), and Franken (MN) strongly expressing their distaste for the current law and the necessity of its repeal.