House Democrats to Introduce Respect for Marriage Act

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In response to 1996's Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage federally exclusively between a man and a woman and relieves states from recognizing same-sex marriages performed in other states, a group of House Democrats are prepping a bill called the Respect for Marriage Act. The measure would repeal DOMA and open the doors for state collaboration on marriage equality, as well as remove federal hurdles for its legalization. New York Representative Jerry Nadler said today that same-sex couples have "debunked the baseless myth that their marriages would somehow undermine or destroy the institution of marriage." After same-sex marriage was legalized in a number of states, Nadler argued, "the sky has not fallen, as our opponents had argued it would." In fact, in Massachusetts, where the same-sex-marriage experiment has gone on the longest, the divorce rate is lower than in any other state in the union. The Respect for Marriage Act already has about 90 co-sponsors, though Democrats, notably House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and openly gay Massachusetts Representative Barney Frank, are hesitant about the timing of the issue. "The process has to get started somewhere," said Jared Polis, a freshman representative from Colorado who is openly gay. “We have momentum, and we will only continue to build momentum.”

House Dems Take Aim at Marriage Law [Caucus/NYT]