Gay Marriage Measure Clears Senate Panel

By Andrea Salazar

Hill lawmakers are once again at odds, this time over a bill Democrats are pushing that would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act.

Unlike DOMA, which defines marriage on a federal level as being between one man and one woman, the Respect for Marriage Act recognizes a state’s right to allow gay marriage. Six states currently allow same-sex marriage: Vermont, Massachusetts, Iowa, Connecticut, New York and New Hampshire.

The bill passed the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday in a 10-8 party line vote.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who sponsored the bill, called DOMA “discriminatory.”

“DOMA prevents people legally married in a state to get the same federal rights and benefits that a heterosexual couple would get,” she told reporters. “It treats one class differently from another class.”

Republicans have cited moral reasons in their defense of DOMA, but today Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) made a new argument; that repealing the law would cost the government too much money.

“No one has paid into the Social Security system expecting benefits to be paid to same-sex partners, and it would be unfair for state laws to determine the eligibility for  social security survival benefits, which are a federal benefit,” Cornyn said during the committee’s meeting this morning.

The bill now heads for an uncertain vote in the Senate. Regardless of what the upper chamber does, the measure will likely die in the Republican-led House, where conservative GOP leaders strongly support DOMA.

 Originally for Talk Radio News Service.

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