Today, Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) released the following statement regarding President Barack Obama's announcement that he has ordered the Justice Department to drop its defense of a central part of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Enacted in 1996, DOMA denies federal recognition of marriages between same-sex couples.
"I applaud the President for taking this major step forward by calling for the extension of equal protection to every American citizen. I have always been -- and I will continue to be -- committed to supporting policies that protect the rights of all Americans regardless of sexual orientation, race, religion, gender, national origin, age, or disability. I will continue to oppose unjust legislation that targets specific groups or persons for unfair treatment.
"Washington state is one of several states that already recognizes civil unions and domestic partnerships, and the state has laws in place to protect against sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination.
"I have worked with my colleagues to repeal discrimination against gays and lesbians in the military, to classify crimes against individuals based on real or perceived sexual orientation as hate crimes, and to encourage equal tax treatment of health benefits for same-sex couples. I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues in the Senate to advance federal law that reflects President Obama's leadership."