Sen. Dianne Feinstein is the lead sponsor of a bill to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman. Feinstein is joined by 27 bill co–sponsors.
“My own belief is that when two people love each other and enter the contract of marriage, the federal government should honor that,” Feinstein said in February, when the Obama administration said it would no longer defend the anti-gay marriage law.
Respect for Marriage Act of 2011 – Amends the Defense of Marriage Act to repeal a provision that prohibited a state, territory, possession, or Indian tribe from being required to recognize any public act, record, or judicial proceeding of any other state, territory, possession, or tribe respecting a same sex marriage. Amends the federal rules of construction added by such Act concerning the definitions of “marriage” and “spouse” to provide that, for purposes of any federal law in which marital status is a factor, an individual shall be considered married if that individual’s marriage is valid in the state where the marriage was entered into or, in the case of a marriage entered into outside any state, if the marriage is valid in the place where entered into and the marriage could have been entered into in a state. Removes the definition of “spouse” (currently, a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife).
On Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing to discuss DOMA and The Respect for Marriage Act.