by Max Brantley
It was a party line vote, with Republicans holding fast to discrimination on account of sexual orientation, but a U.S. Senate committee today approved legislation to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. Despite unconstitutional hardships imposed on legally married people, including our combat troops, by a law denying benefits to some legally married people, success isn't likely soon. Discriminators are in the majority in the House. But it is a step.
DOMA prevents any of the over 1,100 federal rights, benefits and responsibilities of marriage from being afforded to legally married same-sex couples. These include Social Security survivors benefits, federal employee health benefits for spouses, protections against spouses losing their homes in cases of severe medical emergencies, the right to sponsor a foreign born spouse for immigration, the guarantee of family and medical leave and the ability to file joint tax returns, among many others. 51 percent of voters oppose DOMA while only 34 percent favor it, according to a March 2011 poll by HRC and Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research.