California Senator Dianne Feinstein
will join New York Representative Jerrold Nadler in a renewed push to
end the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the Clinton-era law that bans
federal agencies from recognizing the legal marriages of gay and
lesbian couples and allows states to ignore such marriages.
Nadler introduced the Respect for
Marriage Act in September, 2009. The bill quickly rounded up 100
co-sponsors in its first 30 days and then fizzled. The effort failed
to attract a Senate sponsor.
General Eric Holder's Wednesday announcement that he and President
Obama believe parts of the law to be unconstitutional have
renewed the effort, Nadler told The
“The president's move is another step
in the increasing realization that there is no conceivable
justification for DOMA, that it is motivated, was motivated, purely
by irrational considerations and fear and that there is no rational
basis that will stand up to a constitutional challenge,” Nadler
“Hopefully, that will make it
somewhat easier to pass legislation in Congress,” the Democrat
Feinstein told the website that she's
prepared to back the effort in the Senate.
“As a Member of the Judiciary
Committee, it is my intention to introduce legislation that will once
and for all repeal the Defense of Marriage Act,” Feinstein said.
“My own belief is that when two people love each other and enter
the contract of marriage, the Federal government should honor that.
I opposed the Defense of Marriage act in 1996. It was the wrong law
then; it is the wrong law now; and it should be repealed.”