With the U.S. Supreme Court expected to decide whether to hear challenges to gay marriage bans in four states at their January 9th conference, in Washington DC on Wednesday U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan (WI-02), a co-chair of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus, signed on as an original cosponsor of the Respect for Marriage Act, introduced by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (NY-10). This bill would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996 (DOMA) in its entirety, providing equality under the law & certainty for all married couples with regard to critical federal obligations & benefits.
Representative Mark Pocan stated, “With over 35 states recognizing gay & lesbian marriages, it is time we bring more fairness & stability to the lives of these married couples & their families. The Respect for Marriage Act would ensure equal treatment under federal law & finally put to rest the awful consequences of DOMA. While we have made great strides towards equality for the LGBT community, we must continue to fight for the thousands of individuals still discriminated against merely because of whom they love. We must not stop fighting until all 50 states recognize all relationships equally & all citizens equally under the law.” The Supreme Court ruling in United States v. Windsor resulted in the federal government granting marriage recognition based on a state’s recognition of the marriage. The Respect for Marriage Act would provide a uniform marriage recognition rule, ensuring a marriage is valid under the law of the state where performed & is recognized for purposes of federal law. This ensures key federal agencies such as the Social Security Administration & Department of Veterans Affairs recognize all married couples, guaranteeing the ability of these couples to plan for a future of mutual obligation & support with confidence. Congressman Pocan has been married to his husband Phil since 2006.
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