The Senate Judiciary Committee next month will hold a mark-up and vote on a bill repealing the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman, committee chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said Friday.
His announcement sets up a collision course for the Senate and House
over the issue of gay marriage. House Republicans this month tripled to
$1.5 million the amount they’re authorized to spend on legal fees to
defend the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, a response to President Barack
Obama’s decision to stop fighting lawsuits seeking to end it.
“The march for equality continues, and now is the time to ensure
equality for gay and lesbian Americans who are lawfully married,” said
Leahy, one of 29 co-sponsors of the Respect for Marriage Act. The bill
“would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, which prevents thousands of
American families from being protected by laws that help secure other
American families. This is part of the nation’s continuing fight for
civil rights for all Americans.”
The Judiciary Committee held the first congressional hearing on efforts
to repeal DOMA, shortly after Obama announced his support for the
Respect for Marriage Act. The legislation, authored by Sen. Dianne
Feinstein (D-Calif.), is expected to be approved by the committee given
that all 10 Democratic members are backing it.