by Jack Minor –
The United States Senate is scheduled to vote on a bill that would effectively repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, which declared marriage to be limited to a man and a woman, this Thursday, Nov. 10.
The proposed bill, titled the Respect for Marriage Act states its purpose is “to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and ensure respect for State regulation of marriage.”
The bill says, “An individual shall be considered married if that individual’s marriage is valid in the sate 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.”
The American Bar Association has lobbied for the repeal, stating that the bill would absolve states from respecting same-sex marriages under the laws of another state. However, critics say the bill would eventually force states to recognize same-sex marriage performed in other states regardless of their laws.
The state of New York argued that very thing in a brief arguing for the repeal of DOMA. In a brief filed by Attorney General Eric Scheneiderman, the state argued it had a right to define marriage as applying to anyone based on the 10th Amendment, but Colorado and other states did not have the same 10th Amendment right to limit marriage to a man and woman.
DOMA was passed in 1996 with large bi-partisan support. The House passed the bill on a 342-67 vote and the Senate had a similar margin of passage with an 85-14 vote. The bill was subsequently signed into law by President Bill Clinton.
The Obama administration has been attempting to repeal DOMA for some time. In July, the Department of Justice, which is supposed to defend the nation’s laws, filed a brief arguing DOMA should be repealed.
In a case involving Karen Golanski, who sued the federal government seeking equal benefits for her “wife,” DOJ attorney Christopher Hall filed a brief arguing the 1996 law should be repealed.
In the brief, Hall argued that any decision regarding the law should be subject to “heightened scrutiny,” meaning the government must show that DOMA is substantially related to an important government function.
Hall acknowledged that “the Supreme Court has yet to rule on the appropriate level of heightened scrutiny for classifications based on sexual orientation.” The justice department admits there are several court precedents for rejecting the heightened scrutiny argument for “gays”, but said all of them are wrong.
The brief was a departure from the administration’s earlier position, where theadministration said it simply would not defend the law.
The Heritage Foundation, the nation’s largest think tank, with over 710,000 members, says the bill would force the federal government to recognize the validity of, and accord marriage benefits to any current or future relationship recognized by a state, including polygamous and polyamorous unions.
Dr. Gary Gass, founder of DefendChristians.org has urged all supporters of traditional marriage to contact the Republican members on the Judiciary Committee urging them to vote against the measure.