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White House / WHITE HOUSE

Obama Supports Repeal of Defense of Marriage Act

President Obama backs DOMA repeal.(Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images)

July 19, 2011

President Obama is throwing his support behind the Respect for Marriage Act - the bill to repeal the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which banned the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriage even for couples married under state law.

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The president has "long called for a legislative appeal for the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, which continues to have a real impact on families," White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters at Tuesday's briefing. He said the president "is proud" to support the Respect for Marriage Act, "which would take the Defense of Marriage Act off the books for once and for all." 

 

(RELATED: Gay Marriage Gains Ground Among Insiders)

The bill was introduced in the Senate by Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.  

In February, the Obama administration announced that the Department of Justice will no longer defend DOMA in court.

(RELATED: Senate Approves First Openly Gay Judge)

On Wednesday the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on the new bill, which would repeal all three sections of DOMA -- which federally defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman -- including section 1, which is the name; section 2, which instructs states not to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states; and section 3, which prohibits the federal government from recognizing legally performed same-sex marriages.

Representatives from both pro- and anti-gay marriage groups will testify before the panel.

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