President Barack Obama has praised
passage of a bill that would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act
(DOMA), the 1996 law that bars federal agencies and the military from
recognizing the legal marriages of gay and lesbian couples.
The proposed legislation, sponsored by
California Senator Dianne Feinstein in the Senate, cleared
the Senate Judiciary committee along a party line vote of 10 to 8.
Republicans on the panel said they objected to the measure because
it would increase the national debt.
“President Obama applauds today's
vote by the Senate Judiciary Committee to approve the Respect for
Marriage Act, which would provide a legislative repeal of the
so-called 'Defense of Marriage Act,'” a White House spokesman said
in a statement. “The president has long believed that DOMA is
discriminatory and has called for its repeal. We should all work
towards taking this law off the books. The federal government should
not deny gay and lesbian couples the same rights and legal
protections afforded to straight couples.”
Earlier this year, Obama instructed the
Department of Justice to no longer defend the law in court.
Republican leaders in the House moved in to fill the legal void.