Sen. Bill Nelson backs Respect for Marriage Act

By : Staff Report
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U.S. Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) is sponsoring a bill designed to reverse some of the damage done by the Defense of Marriage Act.

DOMA, approved in 1996, kept same-sex married couples from being recognized under federal law, for federal marriage benefits. It was ruled unconstitutional in 2013, but part of DOMA still stands – the part that allows states to refuse to recognize the marriages of same-sex couples.

The Respect for Marriage Act would fully repeal DOMA. It was reintroduced by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) Jan. 7. Nelson, along with Harry Reid (D-NV), Gary Peters (D-MI), are new sponsors of the bill.

At the same time, Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (D-FL) introduced a companion bill in the House.

In 2014, the Justice Department released a report stating that as DOMA stands, married same-sex couples will continue to be denied federal benefits such as social security or veterans’ benefits because those agencies defer to state law. The report added that a bill like the Respect for Marriage Act would solve this issue and ensure benefits are distributed with equality, no matter where the couple lives.

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