Senator Michael Bennet today signed on as a co-sponsor of a bill to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act.
President Obama announced in February that his administration would no longer defend the Act–calling it indefensible. Shortly after that, a bill was introduced to repeal the Act, with Rep. Jared Polis as an original co-sponsor. Then Speaker of the House John Boehner announced that he was leading a group to defend the Act with private funds.
“The federal government should no longer pick and choose which legal marriages to recognize,” Bennet said. “Married same-sex couples deserve the same federal marriage benefits that my wife and I enjoy. No married couples should be denied these marriage benefits, and they should not have to worry that their spouses will be denied Social Security surviving spouse benefits or equal family health benefits.”
The Respect for Marriage Act would allow married same-sex couples to receive federal marriage benefits, including filing joint federal income taxes, Social Security spousal benefits, family health and pension benefits for federal employees and other benefits heterosexual married couples enjoy.
Currently, five states and the District of Columbia grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples and provide equal state benefits to all legally married couples. The bill would not require states that do not recognize same-sex marriages to do so. But legally married same-sex couples living in states not recognizing their marriage would still receive federal marriage benefits.