Press Releases

Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), lead author of legislation to repeal DOMA (Respect for Marriage Act, S. 598), today praised the decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to strike down California’s Proposition 8, an initiative that banned same-sex marriage in California in 2008.

“Today is an important victory for fairness and equality and against discrimination. I could not be prouder of our judicial system. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has upheld Judge Vaughn Walker’s finding that Proposition 8 violates the U.S. Constitution,” said Senator Feinstein.

“I believe Proposition 8 was fundamentally wrong. It enshrined discrimination in our state’s constitution and denied gay and lesbian Californians the ability to make the solemn commitment of marriage to each other in our state. Before it narrowly passed, I opposed it as a matter of equality and fairness, and I said it was a terrible mistake for California.

“I look forward to the day when same-sex couples may once again marry in California and enjoy the rights and freedoms of all married couples. The legal battle is not yet over, but this landmark decision is an important step toward marriage equality for same-sex couples in California.”

Senator Feinstein is working at the federal level to protect and restore the rights of same-sex couples, including the 18,000 legally married, same-sex couples who were married in California before Proposition 8 passed.

Senator Feinstein’s Respect for Marriage Act (S. 598) strikes DOMA from federal law and would restore more than 1,100 federal rights, including the right to file joint federal incomes taxes and receive spousal benefits under Social Security.

Feinstein added, “DOMA denies these rights to more than 131,000 legally married same-sex couples, often harming them at times when they are the most vulnerable. Simply put, this discrimination is wrong and it must change.”

In 1996, Feinstein was one of 14 senators who voted NO on the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that defined marriage under federal law as between one man and one woman. Today, the District of Columbia and six states permit same-sex couples to marry. Feinstein’s repeal-DOMA legislation has 31 cosponsors.