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Tag Archives: repeal

DOMA repeal bill gets White House backing

For the first time, a bill to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act has White House support.

Yesterday the Obama administration announced its support for the Respect for Marriage Act, legislation filed by California Sen. Dianne Feinstein that would wipe the federal law barring recognition of same-sex marriages off the books, the Washington Post reports. The bill would amend the U.S. Code to provide that, for federal purposes, “an individual shall be considered married if that individual’s marriage is valid in the State where the marriage was entered into.”

The endorsement is the most direct opposition the White House has expressed toward DOMA. In February, the Justice Department announced that it would no longer defend constitutional challenges to Section 3 of the law, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman. Feinstein’s proposed legislation would repeal the law in its entirety – including Section 2, which allows states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions.

“This legislation would uphold the principle that the federal government should not deny gay and lesbian couples the same rights and legal protections as straight couples,” said White House press secretary Jay Carney, according to Metro Weekly. “[DOMA] continues to have a real impact on the lives of real people – our families, friends and neighbors.”

The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold its first hearing on the legislation today.

In battle over health care law, focus on Supreme Court (access required)

The legal challenges to the health care law overhaul signed into law last year haven’t even made it to the federal appeals courts yet, but already lawmakers are already focused on where the cases are headed: the U.S. Supreme Court.

As members of the Senate prepare to vote on a measure that would repeal the law – which is expected to fail – lawmakers are also opining on how the justices should rule on the challenge to the law’s constitutionality.

“I would hope the four so-called liberals on the court would recognize that personal liberty is involved here,” said Utah GOP Sen. Orrin Hatch according to The Hill. “I think there are some very good Democrats there on the Court, or I should say more liberal people on the Court, who have to recognize these constitutional issues.”

Iowa Democrat and Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee chairman Sen. Tom Harkin focused on another justice.

“[Justice Antonin] Scalia, interestingly enough, has argued for years that barring any overly gross action by Congress, the court should let the Congress make its laws and if people don’t like them, let them decide at the ballot box,” Harkin told The Hill. “So it will be interesting to see how Scalia goes about this.”

But everyone involved in or watching the ongoing debate are aware that the vote on the health care law cold come down to one jurist. As lawyer and a former congressman Joe Scarborough of MSNBC put it, according to USA Today‘s The Oval blog: “It’s going to come down to Anthony Kennedy.”