February 23, 2011 at 4:34 pm EST | by Chris Johnson
Feinstein to introduce Senate DOMA repeal bill

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Washington Blade file photo)

U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) on Wednesday announced she would introduce legislation that would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act in the wake of the Obama administration’s decision to no longer defend the statute in court.

“As a Member of the Judiciary Committee, it is my intention to introduce legislation that will once and for all repeal the Defense of Marriage Act,” Feinstein said. “My own belief is that when two people love each other and enter the contract of marriage, the Federal government should honor that. I opposed the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996. It was the wrong law then; it is the wrong law now; and it should be repealed.”

If Feinstein moves forward with the legislation, it would be the first time that a measure to repeal DOMA would be introduced in the Senate.

In the last Congress, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) in the House introduced the Respect for Marriage Act, which would have taken DOMA off the books. The legislation saw neither a hearing nor a vote in the 111th Congress.

In a statement, Nadler commended the Obama administration for discontinuing its defense of DOMA and said he plans to reintroduce the Respect for Marriage Act.

“The President has long called upon Congress to repeal this unconstitutional law and I will be reintroducing my legislation, the ‘Respect for Marriage Act,’ to repeal DOMA and ensure that committed, loving couples can rely upon the legal responsibilities and security that come with the time-honored tradition of marriage,” Nadler said. “I urge all of my colleagues to join me in this effort.”

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

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