Statement by NCLR Federal Policy Director, Maya Rupert, Esq.

(Washington, D.C., July 20, 2011)—Today, the Senate Committee on the Judiciary held the first-ever hearing on the Respect for Marriage Act, a bill that would repeal the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Committee members heard from several supporters of the repeal measure, including people who have been harmed because of the discriminatory law.

The Respect for Marriage Act was introduced on March 16, 2011 by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) following the Department of Justice’s historic decision to stop defending DOMA in court because it is unconstitutional. If passed, the bill—which has 27 co-sponsors—would ensure that the federal government recognizes every marriage that a state performs, including marriages of same-sex couples.

Statement by NCLR Federal Policy Director Maya Rupert:

“Today’s hearing exposed the severe burdens that this despicable law imposes on thousands of loving families across the country. Congress needs to pass the Respect for Marriage Act to end this shameful chapter in our nation’s history. DOMA harms families, stigmatizes our relationships as unworthy, and perpetuates a climate of hostility for all LGBTQ people, and it is long past time to repeal it.”

The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization committed to advancing the civil and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.