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

(Washington D.C., November 10, 2011)—Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 10-8 to move forward the Respect for Marriage Act, a bill that would repeal the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA), the 1996 law barring the federal government from recognizing the marriages of same-sex couples and excluding them from all marriage-based federal protections.

Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and one of the lead authors of the legislation, along with Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), presided over the debate.

The Respect for Marriage Act, which now moves to the full Senate for consideration, has 31 co-sponsors and is supported by a broad coalition of organizations including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender equality groups, faith organizations and leaders, and racial justice organizations. President Obama has also endorsed the bill.

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

“The long overdue Respect for Marriage Act will correct a shameful low-point in our history that was reached during a moment of bigotry. Congress must pass the Respect for Marriage Act, taking us one step closer to the day when all families can have the dignity, respect, and equality that has been denied to them under DOMA.”

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.