The Senate Judiciary Committee held hearings July 20 on a possible repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the 15-year-old law that defines marriage in federal matters as between a man and a woman, and allows states the option of not recognizing the same-sex marriage laws of other states. The hearings highlighted the stark difference between the views of homosexual activists, who testified that the foundations of marriage are personal happiness and financial security, and those of pro-family advocates, who explained that traditional marriage is crucial to the stability and survival of society. Over the past months, President Obama has subtly taken the lead on dismantling DOMA, passed in 1996 by his Democratic predecessor Bill Clinton. On July 19, White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters that Obama is “proud” to support the Respect for Marriage Act, the legislation introduced by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Representative Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) that would effect the repeal of DOMA. “This legislation would uphold the principle that the federal government should not deny gay and lesbian couples the same rights and legal protections as straight couples,” explained Carney. As reported by The New American, in February the President called DOMA unconstitutional and ordered the Department of Justice to stop defending the law in federal court.
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Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa, pictured)