The day after President Barack Obama threw his support behind repealing the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the 1996 law preventing the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the issue featuring emotional testimony from people who have been harmed by the law.
In a chamber packed to capacity, witness after witness recounted the financial and emotional toll that the federal government’s refusal to recognize same-sex unions has had on them. Senators also heard from opponents of marriage rights for same-sex couples, who claimed that such unions would be an infringement on “traditional” marriage.
Such criticism was dismissed by Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE), who testified that his wedding ring didn’t “disappear” when the state of New York allowed same-sex marriages.
Democratic Senators dominated the hearing and voiced their support for repealing DOMA, but opposition to repealing the law in the House makes legislation unlikely to pass in the short-term. One Republican Senator, Iowa’s Chuck Grassley, said George Orwell “would have marveled at the name of the bill, the Respect for Marriage Act.
Here’s video of some of the testimony from individuals who are or have been in gay and lesbian relationships that the federal government hasn’t recognized. Chris Geidner has more on the hearing over at Metro Weekly.