"Our nation today moved a step closer to ending discrimination against lesbian and gay Americans. We applaud the Senate Judiciary Committee for voting to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

"Its repeal continues to be a top priority of the New York State Bar Association.

"Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont should be commended for advancing DOMA's repeal. We also recognize U. S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten E. Gillibrand, co-sponsors of the repeal bill, for their strong advocacy on behalf of their fellow New Yorkers."

DOMA, enacted in 1996, prohibits the federal government from recognizing the marriages of same-sex couples who legally wed in New York.  As a result, they are denied an array of federal benefits and protections granted to other married couples. For example, they cannot file joint income tax returns, transfer an estate to a spouse without tax consequences or receive spousal Social Security benefits.

DOMA also permits other states to disregard same-sex marriages legally conducted in New York, five other states and the District of Columbia. 

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The 77,000-member New York State Bar Association is the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. It was founded in 1876.

Contact: Lise Bang-Jensen
Director of Media Services & Public Affairs
lbang-jensen@nysba.org
518/487-5530