Repealing Discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act
Senator Feinstein is the author of The Respect for Marriage Act, a bill to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and restore the rights of all lawfully married couples—including tens of thousands of same-sex couples—to receive the benefits of marriage under federal law.
Senator Feinstein introduced the Respect for Marriage Act on March 16, 2011. At a press conference that day (photo), she was joined by Senate colleagues and a gay couple from California.
Under current law, legally married, same-sex couples cannot take advantage of federal protections available to every other married couple in this country. For example, these couples cannot:
- File joint federal income taxes and claim certain deductions;
- Receive spousal benefits under Social Security;
- Take unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act when a loved one falls seriously ill;
- Obtain the protections of the estate tax when one spouse passes and wants to leave his or her possessions to another.