Leahy Sets DOMA Debate
By Main Justice staff | October 31, 2011 8:31 pm

The Senate Judiciary Committee will debate repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act Nov. 3, setting up a battle with House Republicans.

Committee chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) announced S. 598, the Respect for Marriage Act, will be among the items considered during an executive business meeting. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) introduced the bill in March with the support of 29 co-sponsors.

House Republican leaders announced they would pay former Solicitor General Paul Clement up to $1.5 million to defend the law, Main Justice previously reported. Attorney General Eric Holder in February announced the Department of Justice would no longer defend the law, which prohibits federal recognition of same-sex marriage.

President Barack Obama supports Feinstein’s bill, Main Justice previously reported, and same-sex marriage is expected to be an issue in the 2012 elections.

Following the repeal of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy, several military members sued the Department of Veterans Affairs, arguing that DOMA is unconstitutional, the Washington Post reported.

Six states and the District of Columbia permit same-sex marriage and another five allow same-sex civil unions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

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