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August 23, 2010
8:43 PM

CONTACT: Equality California (EQCA)

Vaishalee Raja, Equality California

California Legislature Officially Endorses Repeal of Federal Defense of Marriage Act

Equality California-sponsored resolution puts State of California on record supporting repeal of so-called “Defense of Marriage Act”

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - August 23 - Today, the California State Senate approved a joint resolution, AJR 19, calling on the U.S. Congress and President Obama to immediately repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which explicitly forbids the federal government or any federal agency from recognizing state-sanctioned marriages between same-sex couples. Introduced by Assemblymember Julia Brownley (D - Santa Monica) and sponsored by Equality California, the joint resolution was passed by a bipartisan vote of 22-12. "The Defense of Marriage Act prevents the federal government from recognizing the relationships of loving same-sex couples, even when the states where they live recognize their relationships," said Equality California Executive Director Geoff Kors. "We're proud of the California legislature for making the state's opposition to DOMA official state policy. Now we must overturn this discriminatory federal law and pave the way for the marriages of same-sex couples to be recognized at the federal level."

Under DOMA, which passed in 1996, married same-sex couples are refused the same federal rights and responsibilities as their heterosexual counterparts, resulting in inequitable and unfair implementation of federal laws governing a range of issues such as housing, immigration, tax and inheritance. A repeal of DOMA would result in the federal government recognizing legal marriages of same-sex couples, just as it currently recognizes legal marriages of heterosexual couples.

"President Obama has called this law abhorrent in the way it denies more than 1,000 federal rights to same-sex couples," Assemblymember Brownley said. "Congress must act now to overturn DOMA, which is rooted in irrational and unfounded prejudice. Married same-sex couples deserve equal access to these benefits."

Currently, there are eleven nations that recognize marriages between same-sex couples, including Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Iceland, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain and Sweden. Five states in the U.S. grant same-sex couples the right to marry, including Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont, as well as Washington, D.C.  

For more information about Equality California-sponsored legislation, please visit

Equality California is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, grassroots-based, statewide advocacy organization whose mission is to achieve equality and civil rights for all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Californians.


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