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Letter to Barack Obama, President of the United States - Implementation of Supreme Court's DOMA Ruling

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

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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