This morning, in a vote of 10 to 8, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved the Respect for Marriage Act, which would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and allow the federal government to provide benefits to couples in same-sex marriages. During the hearing, Minnesota Senator Al Franken (D) fact-checked Sen. Chuck Grassley’s (R-IA) claims that marriage has always been between a man and a woman by providing a history lesson on the evolution of the institution:
FRANKEN: I just believe you misstated the history of marriage. Marriage has not existed as a union between one man and one woman for thousands of years in every culture. In many cultures, men have been able to marry many women and young girls. For centuries, women have been treated as chattel in marriage. Further, if the religious purpose for marriage is procreation, why would we sanction marriage between an 89 year-old widower and an 80 year-old widow? I just think we need to be accurate when we talk about the history of marriage, the history of man and woman, the history of our institutions.
The act, which has 31 co-sponsors, now moves to the Senate, where it has yet to be scheduled for a vote.