Michigan Senator Carl Levin on Thursday
became the 31st co-sponsor 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, gay weekly The
Washington Blade reported.
Levin's endorsement comes just weeks
before the measure is expected to clear the Senate Judiciary
But while passage in the
Democrat-controlled Senate is looking brighter, the issue is a
non-starter in the Republican-controlled House, whose speaker, John
Boehner, is defending the law in court.
Boehner criticizes Obama's gay marriage decision.)
The California-based gay rights group
the Courage Campaign has been lobbying senators to back the measure,
which was first introduced in 2009 by New York Rep. Jerrold Nadler.
California Senator Dianne Feinstein introduced the bill in the
“Carl Levin is in many ways the
conscience of the Senate,” said Rick Jacobs, chair of the Courage
Campaign. “As a leader in defense and national security issues,
Sen. Levin understands that America's true power comes from its
diverse population. That's why his support for Sen. Feinstein's bill
to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act means so such. American
soldiers can now bear arms without hiding that they are gay and
lesbian; when they come home, their marriages deserve to be treated
Last month, Florida
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen came under heavy fire from social
conservatives when she became the first Republican to co-sponsor
the proposed legislation.