President Obama Supports Legislation to Repeal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)

Jul 19, 2011 3:39pm

Tomorrow the Senate will hold the first hearing on The Respect for Marriage Act, which repeals the Defense of Marriage Act, thus granting to all lawfully married couples—including same-sex couples—to receive federal marriage benefits and protections if they are joined by a valid marriage in a state where such marriages are legal.

“The president has long called for a legislative repeal of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, which continues to have a real impact on the lives of real people –our families, friends and neighbors,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said at today’s press briefing.

“He is proud to support the Respect for Marriage Act, introduced by Senator Feinstein and Congressman Nadler, which would take DOMA off the books once and for all," said Carney. "This legislation would uphold the principle that the federal government should not deny gay and lesbian couples the same rights and legal protections as straight couples.”

The president has long opposed DOMA, signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1996, but it wasn’t until earlier this year that he instructed the Justice Department to stop defending it as a law on the books, as is customary.  In February, President Obama “made the determination,” according to Attorney General Eric Holder, that DOMA “as applied to same-sex couples who are legally married under state law, violates the equal protection component of the Fifth Amendment.”

As for his personal position on same sex marriage, the president continues to only say it is “evolving.”

-Jake Tapper (@jaketapper)

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