Marriage Equality USA

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Legislation - Pending

Equality Act

Author/Sponsor: Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon in the Senate + 40 co-sponsors,  Rhode Island Rep. David Cicilline in the House + 157 co-sponsors
Date Introduced:
23 July 2015


HR 2802, SB 1598 - First Amendment Defense Act

Author/Sponsor: Rep. Raúl Labrador (R-Idaho) for the House and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) for the Senate
Date Introduced: 18 June 2015


  • This bill would give federal employees and contractors the right to sue the federal government if they oppose marriage equality.
  • The congressional lawmakers sponsoring the bill say it would protect "religious freedom." Under the bill, agencies would be prohibited from denying grants, tax exemptions, certifications or licenses because of a business or individual’s belief that marriage should be limited to heterosexual couples. (In other words, it would legally protect the right to discriminate.)
  • 9 June 2015, Republicans Introduce 'First Amendment Defense Act' To Shield Those Who Oppose Same-Sex Marriage - By Jean Ann Esselink, The New Civil Rights Movement
HR 1968 - Restrain the Judges on Marriage Act of 2015

Author/Sponsor: Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa)
Date Introduced: 22 April 2015


The International Human Rights Defense Act 

Author/Sponsor: Sen. Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts)
Dates Introduced: 29 January 2015; June 2014


Respect for Marriage Act (RFMA) - H.R. 2523, S. 1236

Author/Sponsor: 2013 Author/Sponsor Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and 174 co-sponsors. The 2015 sponsors are U.S. Senator Feinstein and U.S. Representatives Jerry Nadler and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen
Dates Introduced: 6 January 2015; 26 June 2013; 16 March 2011; 15 September 2009  


  • The Respect for Marriage Act is a proposed bill in the United States Congress that would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and require the U.S. federal government to recognize the validity of same-sex marriages.
  • In addition to repealing DOMA, the legislation would establish a method for the federal government to determine whether a marriage is valid for federal purposes, a legal dilemma known as choice of laws.
  • This bill was originally introduced to the 111th Congress by U.S. Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York on 15 September 2009 and garnered 120 cosponsors.
  • It was next introduced to the 112th Congress by Representative Nadler on 16 March 2011, and a U.S. Senate version was introduced by Senator Dianne Feinstein of California the same day.
  • President Obama announced his support for the bill on 19 July 2011.
  • In September 2011, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida became the 125th cosponsor of the bill in the U.S. House of Representatives and the first Republican member of the U.S. Congress to announce support for the bill.
  • The bill's sponsors decided not to reintroduce the Respect for Marriage Act in 2013 until the Supreme Court of the United States issued a decision in United States v. Windsor. They introduced it to the 113th Congress on 26 June 2013, the same day the Court ruled that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional.
  • On 26 June 2014, H.R. 2523 was referred to the House Judiciary Committee, and S. 1236 was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee.
  • 15 July 2013 Referred to the Subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice. (The 113th Congress ended on 3 January 2015.)
  • 6 January 2015, this bill was re-introduced to the new Congress by U.S. Senator Feinstein and U.S. Representatives Jerry Nadler and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. RMA would fully remove the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) from the books and establish a clear rule for the federal government that all married same-sex couples – regardless of what state they currently live in – have access to equal rights, benefits, and protections under federal law.
  • “From social security benefits to veterans benefits, DOMA continues to harm families across the country,” said David Stacy, Government Affairs Director for HRC. “Every legally married couple - no matter where they live - should have access to the full federal benefits and protections they deserve. It’s far past time for DOMA to be completely repealed once and for all. We applaud Senator Feinstein and Representatives Nadler and Ros-Lehtinen for their tireless commitment to fully repealing this discriminatory and antiquated statute.”

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