Republicans spoke out against repealing the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) this morning, as the Senate Judiciary Committee marked up the Respect for Marriage Act, legislation that would repeal DOMA and offer federal benefits to same-sex couples married in states that recognize their relationships. The GOP maintained that same-sex couples have not lost any rights because their relationships had never been recognized by the federal government in the first place and claimed that the measure would undermine states rights because the federal government could recognize same-sex relationships that are illegal in some states. Democrats countered that marriage policy would still be left to the states, but that the Act would guarantee that the federal government treat all marriages equally.
Below are highlights form the hearing:
– Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) argued that only opposite-sex couples promote “stable families, good environments for raising children and religious beliefs.” He also added, “the Fourteenth Amendment would probably never have been ratified if the public understood it to provide for same-sex marriage.”:
– Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) explained that extending federal benefits to same-sex couples would cost too much. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) responded by arguing that ending discrimination based on gender or race also increased spending and added, “we can afford to be a free nation whatever the cost may be.” ”
– Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) argued that marriage equality will force the government to recognize and provide benefits to relationships “between two sisters”: