LGBT activists and lawmakers are already devising a backup plan in case the U.S. Supreme Court decides to uphold a federal law that defines marriage between the union between a man and a woman.
According to the Washington Blade, a bill known as the Respect for Marriage Act, designed to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, would be introduced in Congress if the Supreme Court decision, set to be announced in June, is not in favor of the LGBT community.
DOMA is a 1996 law that defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman, thus depriving gay couples of the rights and privileges granted to heterosexual couples, like filing tax returns together and maintaining estate rights after widowing. The federal law, which overrules state law, creates a loophole in rights even in states where gay marriage is legal.
The lead sponsors of the bill are Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) in the House and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) in the Senate. Log Cabin Republicans’ Gregory Angelo told the Blade they expect Republican Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), whose son recently came out, to sign on as a co-sponsor.
“Given his recent evolution on marriage equality, we expect Republican Senator Portman to be a co-sponsor in the Senate,” Angelo said.
The Blade writes that “legislation still may be necessary if DOMA is overturned to clear up lingering inequities for married same-sex couples, such as in situations where they move from one state that recognizes their union to another that doesn’t.” Sergio N. Candido