07.11.13

Feinstein, Colleagues Urge Swift Implementation of Supreme Court DOMA Decision

Vast number of statutes, regulations affect 1,100 federal rights now enjoyed by legally married, same-sex couples

Washington—Senator 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.

Sincerely,

Dianne Feinstein

United States Senator

Dianne Feinstein

United States Senator

Patrick Leahy

United States Senator

Tammy Baldwin

United States Senator

Michael F. Bennet

United States Senator

Richard Blumenthal

United States Senator

Barbara Boxer

United States Senator

Sherrod Brown

United States Senator

Maria Cantwell

United States Senator

Benjamin Cardin

United States Senator

Thomas R. Carper

United States Senator

Robert P. Casey, Jr.

United States Senator

Christopher Coons

United States Senator

Richard J. Durbin

United States Senator

Al Franken

United States Senator

Kirsten Gillibrand

United States Senator

Tom Harkin

United States Senator

Martin Heinrich

United States Senator

Mazie K. Hirono

United States Senator

Tim Kaine

United States Senator

Angus S. King, Jr.

United States Senator

Amy Klobuchar

United States Senator

Carl Levin

United States Senator

Robert Menendez

United States Senator

Jeff Merkley

United States Senator

Barbara A. Mikulski

United States Senator

Christopher S. Murphy

United States Senator

Patty Murray

United States Senator

Jack Reed

United States Senator

Bernie Sanders

United States Senator

Brian Schatz

United States Senator

Charles E. Schumer

United States Senator

Jeanne Shaheen

United States Senator

Debbie Stabenow

United States Senator

Mark Udall

United States Senator

Tom Udall

United States Senator

Mark R. Warner

United States Senator

Elizabeth Warren

United States Senator

Sheldon Whitehouse

United States Senator

Ron Wyden

United States Senator

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