U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and an original cosponsor of S. 598, the Respect for Marriage Act, today praised Chairman Pat Leahy's announcement that the bill, which would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, would be brought up for Judiciary Committee consideration in November.
"The Respect for Marriage Act is landmark legislation and I'm proud that it will take a major step forward when the Judiciary Committee brings it to mark-up next month," Senator Coons said. "This is the most progress we've ever made in repealing DOMA, and it can't come soon enough. It should not be the policy of the federal government to discriminate against its citizens based their sexual preference or gender identity. It has had a corrosive effect on our country and must be repealed. I look forward to working with Chairman Leahy and Senator Feinstein to ensure the Respect for Marriage Act is successfully reported out of committee."
The Respect for Marriage Act (S.598) was introduced in March by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and 18 original cosponsors. Since then, the roster of cosponsors has grown to include 29 senators. As part of a hearing to consider the bill in July, Senator Coons led the Judiciary Committee in its questioning of four prominent advocates for and against marriage equality.
In addition to the Respect for Marriage Act, in the current Congress, Senator Coons has cosponsored the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, the Student Non-Discrimination Act, the Uniting American Families Act, and the Family and Medical Leave Inclusion Act. During the lame duck session of the previous Congress, Senator Coons cosponsored and worked hard to pass the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.
Earlier this year, Senator Coons recruited 12 of his colleagues for a video for the It Gets Better Project, in which they encouraged lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young people not to give up and reassured them that the senators were working hard in the Senate to fulfill the promise of equality for all. That video can be seen at http://coons.senate.gov/itgetsbetter.