Grassley reaffirms his support for DOMA
U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) hasn’t had a change of heart toward the Defense of Marriage Act, and a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing called by U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) on the subject is a prerogative of leadership.
Leahy announced Thursday that he would, in the coming weeks, preside over a congressional hearing on proposals to repeal DOMA. Although a Republican-led U.S. House subcommittee held hearings on continued government defense of the law, which defines marriage as being between only one man and one woman, the Senate hearing will mark the first time Congress has heard testimony on repeal options.
Grassley is the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee and, as such, will have an opportunity, alongside Leahy, to solicit pertinent and expert testimony on the subject. Beth Pellett Levine, Grassley’s spokeswoman, said that since no firm date has yet been scheduled for the hearing, “it’s premature to discuss potential witnesses.”
Further responding to a request by The Iowa Independent, she added, “Senator Grassley voted for the Defense of Marriage Act in Congress, which President Clinton signed into law, defining marriage as between one man and one woman, and he remains fully supportive of the law. The rules of the Judiciary Committee give Senator Leahy, as chairman, the prerogative to hold hearings on any subject within the committee’s jurisdiction.”
Earlier this year, Leahy joined with Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and others to introduce the Respect for Marriage Act, a bill that would repeal DOMA and restore the rights of all lawfully married couples, including same-sex couples, to receive the benefits of marriage under federal law.
The issue has been a contentious one since the Obama administration announced in February that it would no longer defend the law in federal court — a decision that drew direct ire from many House Republicans, including U.S. Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), who sought to censure the White House.
The Judiciary Committee hearing will be entitled “S.598, The Respect for Marriage Act: Assessing the Impact of DOMA on American Families,” and is expected to be held and live-streamed over the Internet in the coming weeks.