Warner, Kaine sign DOMA amicus brief

gay-equalityU.S. Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine both signed the 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.

“To me, repeal of DOMA is an issue of fairness,” said Warner, D-Va. “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 amicus 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,” Warner said.

“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, D-Va. “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 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.

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