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senate Bill S. 29

Should Congress Repeal The Defense of Marriage Act?

Argument in favor

Marriage inequality is something that future generations will look back on with disgust. Same-sex marriages deserve the same standing in the eyes of the law as heterosexual marriages. Plus DOMA was already gutted by the Supreme Court — it's time for a complete repeal.

JDub's Opinion
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03/31/2015
Because of the separation of church and state, religious groups and clergy are subject only to the guidelines of their own religion, although many now support civil marriages for all couples and some perform religious ceremonies as well. The civil status of marriage is clearly distinguished from the religious institution of marriage. Religious rights are preserved under federal law, as are civil rights of same-sex couples. There is no reason to "defend" religious definitions of marriage from civil definitions if we are to treat people (and their relationships) equally under the law.
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Melissa's Opinion
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05/16/2015
Separation of church and state. Stop forcing your religion on others!
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Tj8233's Opinion
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04/29/2015
I don't want my grandchildren to look back and count me among those that they look on with disgust.
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Argument opposed

Repealing DOMA would trample on the rights of States to outline how they define marriage and how state benefits are distributed. The budgetary impact of this change hasn’t been examined in over a decade. Axing DOMA would be fiscally irresponsible and offensive to states that ban same-sex marriage.

Tammi's Opinion
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04/28/2015
Marriage is a spiritual Union created by God. We didn't create it so we can't change it. Plus don't take away the voice of the people.
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Doc's Opinion
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04/06/2015
The sanctity of marriage should be protected because it has been biblically Instituted. Granted that it has not been viewed as a howling success in the last fifty years...but I do not believe it is the contract of marriage that has failed but out side influences; In my humble opinion marriages do not fail over night nor did divorces.
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Sid's Opinion
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03/27/2016
The federal government is once again taking things to far. This isn't for the feds to decide it's a right reserved for states and states only. If you want to have a gay marriage then go move to California. And if you can't put up with it move to Texas or Virginia.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The house has not voted
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on the Judiciary
    IntroducedJanuary 6th, 2015

What is Senate Bill S. 29?

This bill would effectively repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), thereby allowing states, territories, and Indian tribes to recognize same-sex marriages. 


Under S. 29, in any case where marital status is a factor under federal law, a couple would be considered married if their marriage is valid in the State where they were wed. With current DOMA restrictions, many States — including those with some benefits for same-sex relationships — have restricted their recognition of marriage to heterosexual couples. Additionally, many states will not recognize a same-sex union from other U.S. jurisdictions.


The federal rules regarding the definitions of “marriage” and “spouse” would be amended so that a person would be considered legally married if:

  • the marriage is considered valid by the state in which they were married.

  • the marriage was entered into outside of the couple's state of residence, the marriage would be considered valid so long as it was entered into in a state that recognizes same-sex marriage.


The definition “spouse” — which is currently defined as a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or wife — would be removed.

Impact

Same-sex couples, States that don’t recognize same-sex marriages, the U.S. wedding industry.

Cost of Senate Bill S. 29

A current CBO cost estimate is unavailable. However, a 2004 CBO study found that recognizing same-sex marriages would cost about $1 billion per year for the next 10 years, while generating about $400 million in revenue annually for that same period. It is likely that these projections have increased due to inflation.

More Information

In Depth:

This is the fourth time that the Respect for Marriage Act has been introduced in Congress, having appeared in the 111th, 112th, 113th, and now the 114th Congress. It has never received a vote, despite being sent to the floor of the Senate in the 112th Congress.


The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was initially signed into law by President Clinton in 1996. DOMA prevented same-sex unions from being considered bonafide marriages under the law, which in turn prevented said couples from receiving federal marriage benefits like tax credits, visitation rights, and survivor benefits. 


States were not prevented from recognizing same-sex marriages by the federal DOMA, but many passed their own versions of the law creating legal definitions of marriage. Currently (January 2015) there are 37 states that offer legal recognition to same-sex married couples.


In 2013 a 5-4 majority of the Supreme Court ruled in the case United States v. Windsor  that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional as it deprived same-sex couples of equal protection under the Fifth Amendment. This meant that the federal government must recognize all same-sex marriages that were approved by the states, which includes extending all federal marriage benefits to those same-sex couples.


Media:

Sponsoring Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) Press Release

Huffington Post

SF Gate

Human Rights Campaign (In Favor)

(Photo Credit: Flickr user See-ming Lee 李思明 SML

AKA

Respect for Marriage Act

Official Title

A bill to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and ensure respect for State regulation of marriage.

    Because of the separation of church and state, religious groups and clergy are subject only to the guidelines of their own religion, although many now support civil marriages for all couples and some perform religious ceremonies as well. The civil status of marriage is clearly distinguished from the religious institution of marriage. Religious rights are preserved under federal law, as are civil rights of same-sex couples. There is no reason to "defend" religious definitions of marriage from civil definitions if we are to treat people (and their relationships) equally under the law.
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    Marriage is a spiritual Union created by God. We didn't create it so we can't change it. Plus don't take away the voice of the people.
    Like (12)
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    Separation of church and state. Stop forcing your religion on others!
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    I don't want my grandchildren to look back and count me among those that they look on with disgust.
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    It's the twenty first century, get with the program!
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    The argument against this is purely religious. No, gays and lesbians won't molest your children if you allow them to marry. No, it's not a lifestyle decision. No, it does not trump on the rights of religions. They won't be forced to perform these marriages. If anything, the "personal liberty" argument works in favor of LGBT rights. The people have no right to push their agenda on others.
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    This and other bills are founded out of metaphysical beliefs, that same-sex couples will magically deteriorate the nation. Such beliefs belong in the 17th century.
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    For god's sake it amazes me how marriage inequality is still a fiercely debated topic. This is a human rights issue where you are preventing two loving and consensual people from getting married. It's incredible how a heterosexual individual can get divorced 5+ times but is against same sex marriage. Be on the right side of history.
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    The federal government is once again taking things to far. This isn't for the feds to decide it's a right reserved for states and states only. If you want to have a gay marriage then go move to California. And if you can't put up with it move to Texas or Virginia.
    Like (6)
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    The sanctity of marriage should be protected because it has been biblically Instituted. Granted that it has not been viewed as a howling success in the last fifty years...but I do not believe it is the contract of marriage that has failed but out side influences; In my humble opinion marriages do not fail over night nor did divorces.
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    Humans are naturally designed to be in marriage with someone of the opposite gender, there's no need to force states to cope with the trampling of their beliefs.
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    Marriage is not a right granted by the state- choosing a life partner is a human right.
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    It's not for the government to tell Americans who they may love or marry.
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    No marriages have no business being in the Feds grasp
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    The government can either offer a legal marriage to any couple wanting to marry or stay out of marriage completely.
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    It's the civilized and compassionate thing to do.
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    One man one woman
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    how the hell is this still an issue?
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    Only the two people involved in a relationship have the right to define that relationship. It is not the Pl ace of politicians to make that decision for them.
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    Why would you not want to ban this bigot law?
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