Since President Clinton signed it into law in 1996, DOMA has protected the federal definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman, much to the chagrin of the pro-same-sex marriage crowd. Repealing DOMA would allow the federal government to create its own definition of marriage and choose to recognize same-sex unions (although Pres. Obama has already extended some domestic partnership benefits to federal workers, in spite of DOMA).
Essentially, H.R.3567 would force the federal government to recognize the same-sex marriages in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, and Vermont (none of which legalized same-sex marriage through a popular vote). By extension it forces all of us as federal taxpaying citizens to recognize and in some way subsidize these same-sex marriages, even though citizens in 30 states have passed constitutional amendments protecting marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
Interestingly, Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), one of the most outspoken, pro-gay agenda legislators in the House, is not a supporter of the bill. Although he wants DOMA repealed, Rep. Frank believes the bill will not pass and is instead pushing for incremental gains such as the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) and the repeal of the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy.
We don’t know whether H.R.3567 will get a floor vote or not, but Rep. Frank’s incremental approach appears to be gaining ground on The Hill. ENDA gets a full committee hearing in the House Judiciary Committee one week from today on September 23. Wisconsin Reps. Tammy Baldwin and Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Brookfield) are on the House Judiciary Committee.