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Senate Panel Votes to
Repeal Marriage Law
BY MICHAEL FOUST ©2011 Baptist Press
Democratic-controlled Senate committee passed a bill Thursday [November 10] that would overturn the Defense of Marriage Act, marking the first time that a committee in either chamber of Congress had acted to reverse the 1996 law that gives states the ability to make their own marriage laws.
The vote itself was a sign that supporters of gay "marriage" had made strides in the 15 years since the law passed. In 1996, DOMA passed overwhelmingly with margins of 85-14 in the Senate and 342-67 in the House. On Wednesday, a bill to repeal that very law passed the Senate Judiciary Committee 10-8--with three Democratic members who voted for DOMA in 1996 now voting to overturn it.
All 10 Democrats voted for the bill and all eight Republicans opposed it.
The bill, S. 598, won't become law anytime soon, because it has only 30 co-sponsors--all Democrats--and apparently is short the necessary votes in the full Senate. Even if it passed the Senate, the Republican-controlled House wouldn't take it up. President Obama supports it.
Long a target of gay activists, the Defense of Marriage Act has two functions: 1) it defines marriage as between a man and a woman in federal law and 2) it gives states the option of not recognizing another state's gay "marriages."
Since DOMA was signed into law in '96, more than 40 states have passed either laws or constitutional amendments explicitly defining marriage in the traditional sense.
"Under DOMA, states can define marriage however they want," Sen. Charles Grassley, R.-Iowa, said. "They can decide for themselves whether they will recognize same-sex marriages from other states. Under this bill, by contrast, states that recognize only traditional marriages will be required to honor same-sex marriages for purposes of federal law."
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