Senators Kaine, Warner Challenge Defense of Marriage Act - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Senators Kaine, Warner Challenge Defense of Marriage Act

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Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner have both signed an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court challenging the Defense of Marriage Act. That act created a federal definition of marriage for the first time. 

The brief filed says there is no legitimate federal interest in denying same-sex couples the same marriage rights for legal security and responsibilities as all other married couples.

This comes following a case where a woman's inheritance was significantly decreased following her spouse's death.

A total of 212 members of the House and Senate signed the brief.

The Office of Senator Tim Kaine
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tim Kaine signed an amicus brief filed in the U.S. Supreme Court today by 212 members of Congress challenging Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which created a federal definition of marriage for the first time. The brief concludes there is no legitimate federal interest in denying married same-sex couples the same legal security, rights and responsibilities that federal law provides to all other married couples, and that DOMA undermines the welfare of American families.

The case at hand, U.S. v. Edith Schlain Windsor, involves the federal government denying a same-sex couple protections from the estate tax that other married couples receive. When Edith "Edie" Windsor's spouse passed away, her inheritance was significantly decreased because of section 3 of DOMA, and they were treated as strangers under the law despite having a relationship that had lasted more than 40 years.

In 2006, Kaine campaigned against an amendment to the Virginia constitution that banned any legal recognition of same-sex relationships. On his first day as Governor, he signed an executive order that banned discrimination against state employees based on race, sex, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, age, political affiliation, veteran status or disability.

"I'm proud to join 212 members of the House and Senate in filing this brief with the Supreme Court that details why we believe Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act should be ruled unconstitutional," said Kaine. "I'm encouraged by the Supreme Court's decision to take up the Defense of Marriage Act and hope there's an end in sight to the continued discrimination against thousands of committed couples across the country."


The Office of Senator Mark Warner
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) today signed an amicus brief filed in the United States Supreme Court in U.S. v. Edith Schlain Windsor, a challenge to Section 3 of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, known as DOMA. A total of 40 Senators and 172 members of the House signed onto the brief.

"To me, repeal of DOMA is an issue of fairness. Under DOMA, committed relationships legally recognized by some states are made financially and legally unequal in many ways: taxes, inheritance, insurance benefits, and a thousand other rights and benefits that the federal government routinely grants to other married couples. I am proud to lend my name to the iambics brief urging the Supreme Court to reverse this discriminatory law. Marriage equality now receives growing bipartisan support, and DOMA repeal is supported by a significant number of leading U.S. businesses, who correctly believe that DOMA represents an impediment to economic competitiveness."

In 2005, Sen. Warner was the first Virginia Governor to ban employment discrimination based upon sexual orientation within state government. In 2006, he spoke out and campaigned against passage of a proposed marriage amendment to the Virginia constitution. In 2011, Sen. Warner voted to repeal the U.S. Defense Department's "don't ask, don't tell" restrictions on gay and lesbian service members.

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