All but one Minnesota Democrat in Congress support DOMA repeal
On Tuesday, Rep. Tim Walz joined all but one of his Minnesota DFL colleagues in support of a repeal of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which prevents the federal government from recognizing legally married same-sex couples.
The Defense of Marriage Act passed into law in 1996. Walz is the latest lawmaker to sponsor the repeal effort in the House, bringing the number up to 122 representatives. U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York said the bill has been offered every year, but that this year it has gathered the greatest number of sponsors in its history.
Reps. Keith Ellison and Betty McCollum are original sponsors of the Respect for Marriage Act which was introduced in March. Sen. Al Franken is an original sponsor in the Senate, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar joined him this summer. Rep. Collin Peterson is the only DFLer in Minnesota’s delegation that hasn’t signed the repeal.
“Getting married to my wife Gwen and building our life together was the best thing that ever happened to me,” Walz said in a statement. “I simply cannot imagine why we would want to ban our fellow Americans from that commitment. Martin Luther King Jr. once said ‘The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.’ I believe that arc is getting shorter and I look forward to a day in my lifetime when Americans are not discriminated on based on who they love.”
The repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act would ensure that same-sex couples who have been legally married in the United States would have access to federal benefits such as social security, file jointly on tax forms and enjoy less onerous immigration requirements for binational couples.
Same-sex couples can legally mary in Iowa, New York, Massachusetts, District of Columbia, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Connecticut, and the sovereign nations of the Coquille and Suquamish. In addition, couples married in California prior to the passing of Proposition 8 in 2008 hold valid marriage licenses in that state.
“As the march toward full equality for LGBT Americans is seeing some real, concrete progress, the movement to repeal DOMA is steadily growing stronger and more robust,” Nadler said of the 122 sponsors. “The coalition working for LGBT rights in the Congress and the nation as a whole is larger than ever before, and we gain new allies every day. And, just this year, New York State enacted marriage equality, hammering one more nail into the coffin of bigotry and discrimination against gays and lesbians. Dumping DOMA is simply not a question of if, but when.”