Freedom to Marry is reporting that Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., will co-sponsor the "Respect for Marriage Act," a bill that would repeal the so-called "Defense of Marriage Act" (DOMA). DOMA bars legally-wedded gay couples from receiving over 1,000 federal benefits which married straight couples receive.
Mikulski's announcement comes just days after 3,000 petition signatures were delivered to her office - proof that grassroots campaigning can make the difference.
Mikulski becomes the 30th cosponsor for the "Respect for Marriage Act" - an impressive showing, but still only half the number of yea votes needed to pass repeal of the discriminatory law. Additionally, 120 congressmen have cosponsored the House version of the bill, just over half the necessary yea votes for that chamber.
While DOMA will surely not be repealed by a GOP-controlled House, the more cosponsors we get for this important civil rights legislation, the stronger statement we make against institutionalized discrimination. DOMA perpetuates a second-class citizenship for gay couples by telling them that their federal government does not recognize their relationship.
It is clear that DOMA has got to go: take a moment to call your congressmen and tell them to support the "Respect for Marriage Act" - and, if they do, to thank them for doing so.
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