The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a first-ever hearing on efforts to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act “in the coming weeks,” committee chair Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont announced Thursday.
A committee spokeswoman said a date has yet to be set for the hearing on the Respect for Marriage Act, introduced in March by Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California and currently supported by 25 senate cosponsors, including Leahy and New York senator Kirsten Gillibrand. A witness list for the hearing, which will be webcast, has not been finalized.
“There are tens of thousands of legally married same-sex couples in the United States, and more than 18,000 in my home state of California alone,” Feinstein said at a March news conference on the bill’s introduction. “These couples live their lives like all married people; they share the bills, they raise children together and they care for each other in good times and bad, in sickness and in health, until death do they part. But because of DOMA, they have been denied federal protections. It is time to right this wrong.”
Sen. Gillibrand said of the Thursday announcement, “If Democrats and Republicans can come together to do what’s right in New York, I know we can do the same in Congress to do what’s right for all of America. Now is the time to act on the federal level.”
The judiciary hearing is titled “S.598, The Respect for Marriage Act: Assessing the Impact of DOMA on American Families."