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Home Local Maryland Government Announcement Originally published July 11, 2013

Cardin And Mikulski Join Senator Feinstein And Colleagues Urging Swift Implementation Of Supreme Court DOMA Decision



Cardin And Mikulski Join Senator Feinstein And Colleagues Urging Swift Implementation Of

 

Supreme Court DOMA Decision

 

Vast numbers of statutes, regulations affect 1,100 federal rights now enjoyed by legally married, same

 

-sex couples

 

 

            WashingtonU.S. Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara A. Mikulski (both D-MD) joined Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), a senior member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and 38 other senators today sent a letter to President Obama calling on his administration to “swiftly and comprehensively” implement the Supreme Court’s decision overturning the Defense of Marriage Act.

 

            The senators wrote: “We understand that your Administration is evaluating the vast number of statutes and regulations impacted, and that many laws provide Federal agencies with great discretion to provide relief to legally-married, same-sex couples. We urge you to ensure that legally-married, same-sex couples are treated equally under Federal law regardless of where they live, to the greatest extent possible. Only by doing this can we truly provide equal protection to the married couples that have long borne the brunt of DOMA’s unconstitutional discrimination.”

 

            The letter also addressed the continued need to pass the Respect for Marriage Act: “Some statutes, including the Social Security Act and Veterans Code, may limit the degree to which equal treatment under the law can be fully realized. Passing this legislation will fix that, by making sure that couples that have entered into the lifelong commitment of lawful marriage are treated equally under Federal law regardless of where they live. We also believe that DOMA should be stricken from the books – period. It should not be subject to a potentially shifting Supreme Court majority. Nor should a couple’s legally recognized marriage be vulnerable to changing Administrations.”

 

            Full text of the letter follows:

 

July 11, 2013

 

President Barack Obama

The White House

Washington, DC 20500

 

Dear Mr. President:

 

            We write to urge you to swiftly and comprehensively implement the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in United States v. Windsor striking down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

 

            As you know, DOMA excluded legally married, same-sex couples from the vast sweep of Federal laws that consider marital status. It affects over 1,100 statutes and countless federal regulations, including some of the most fundamental protections for American families: Social Security, Family and Medical Leave, the Tax Code, the Veterans Code, and many others. As the Court noted: “By its great reach, DOMA touches many aspects of married and family life, from the mundane to the profound.” The Supreme Court has now definitively resolved, as many of us had believed, that DOMA is a fundamental denial of constitutional liberty. We salute your personal leadership and your Administration’s advocacy, which have been instrumental in ensuring this great victory for all Americans.

 

            But there remains much more work to do. We understand that your Administration is evaluating the vast number of statutes and regulations impacted, and that many laws provide Federal agencies with great discretion to provide relief to legally-married, same-sex couples. We urge you to ensure that legally-married, same-sex couples are treated equally under Federal law regardless of where they live, to the greatest extent possible. Only by doing this can we truly provide equal protection to the married couples that have long borne the brunt of DOMA’s unconstitutional discrimination.

 

            We also remain firmly committed to the cause of fully repealing all of DOMA by passing the Respect for Marriage Act, which now has been reintroduced in the Senate with 41 cosponsors. Some statutes, including the Social Security Act and Veterans Code, may limit the degree to which equal treatment under the law can be fully realized. Passing this legislation will fix that, by making sure that couples that have entered into the lifelong commitment of lawful marriage are treated equally under Federal law regardless of where they live. We also believe that DOMA should be stricken from the books – period. It should not be subject to a potentially shifting Supreme Court majority. Nor should a couple’s legally recognized marriage be vulnerable to changing Administrations.

 

            Once again, thank you for your commitment to ensuring equality under Federal law for married same-sex couples. We look forward to continuing to work with you to make sure that these couples receive the full and equal treatment to which they are entitled by the Constitution.