The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

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”


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.