Human Rights Campaign Delivers Survey to Congress
50,000 HRC members participate in national survey; action alert, website launched demanding DOMA repeal
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, today launched a campaign to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which denies legally married same-sex couples more than 1,000 federal protections and responsibilities. As part of the campaign, HRC launched a national action alert, an interactive website, RepealDOMAnow.org, and delivered to Congress nearly 50,000 survey responses showing the concrete harms DOMA brings to the lives of LGBT Americans and their families. A bill is expected to be introduced in the U.S. House as early as next week. To view HRC Legislative Director Allison Herwitt delivering the surveys to Congress visit www.HRCBackStory.org.
“Now is the time to let Congress and President Obama know that DOMA must go. The introduction of a bill to repeal DOMA with this unprecedented momentum behind it will mark a tidal shift in this fight,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. “This hurtful and discriminatory law denies millions of Americans federal recognition of marriage and the critical rights and benefits that come with it – Social Security survivors' benefits, equal treatment under U.S. immigration laws, the right to take leave to care for a spouse, and more. It is more important than ever to push for repeal of DOMA.”
Nearly 50,000 people participated in a membership survey commissioned in August by the Human Rights Campaign that asked a series of questions on DOMA repeal. To view the survey, visit: www.hrc.org/DOMASurvey.
In the past year, tens of thousands of loving same-sex couples have legally been married in Massachusetts, California, Connecticut, Iowa and Vermont. And with new laws soon to take effect in New Hampshire and Maine, thousands more will surely join them. Enacted in 1996, the Defense of Marriage Act purports to allow states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.
DOMA also creates a federal definition of "marriage" and "spouse" for the first time in our country's history. This is an unprecedented intrusion by the U.S. Congress into an area traditionally left to the states. Marriage is defined as a "legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife," and spouse is defined as "a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife." Marriages that do not fit this description are not be eligible for any benefits offered by the federal government. Under DOMA, even same-sex couples lawfully married under the laws of their states are ineligible for numerous rights, benefits, and responsibilities, including those related to Social Security, immigration, family and medical leave, joint taxation, federal employee benefits and many more.
The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.