Washington DC- Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) announced that he is an original cosponsor of Respect for Marriage Act, a bill to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The bill would also ensure that all legally-married, same-sex couples are treated equally under federal law by clarifying current statues. Even following the Supreme Court’s June 2013 decision that invalidated a portion of DOMA, same sex couples across the nation are still denied certain critical federal benefits. Following the Supreme Court’s ruling on DOMA, Casey joined 38 Senators in urging the Administration to quickly implement the ruling.
“Passing this legislation will be a critical step in strengthening equal rights for all,” Senator Casey said. “As a U.S. Senator representing Pennsylvania, I have received many letters from LGBT Pennsylvanians and their families who want nothing more than equal rights under the law. This effort will ensure LGBT families can receive critical federal benefits that other married couples receive. “
In June 2014, one year after the Supreme Court’s ruling in Windsor v. United States, the Justice Department issued a report concluding that without legislation, married same-sex couples will continue to be denied critical federal benefits.
Specifically, the report concluded the government could not issue Social Security or veterans’ benefits to some married, same-sex couples because the agencies “are required by law to confer marriage-related benefits based on the law of the state in which the married couple reside or resided, preventing the extension of benefits to same-sex married couples” in certain states.
The Justice Department report stated that enactment of a bill like the Respect for Marriage Act would ensure that federal benefits are awarded equally and that the administration would “work closely with Congress to ensure that veterans and elderly and disabled Americans can obtain for themselves or their spouses the essential benefits they have earned no matter where they live.”
The Senate bill, which was led by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) has 42 original cosponsors: Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Robert Casey (D-Penn.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Angus King (I-Maine), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Christopher Murphy (D-Conn.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).
The House bill has 79 original cosponsors: Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), James Clyburn (D-S.C.), Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.), Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.), John Conyers (D-Mich.), Jared Polis (D-Colo.), David N. Cicilline (D-R.I.), Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.), Mark Pocan (D-Wis.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), Mark Takano (D-Calif.), Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.), Julia Brownley (D-Calif.), Mike Capuano (D-Mass.), Tony Cardenas (D-Calif.), Matt Cartwright (D-Pa.), Judy Chu (D-Calif.), Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.), Gerald Connolly (D-Va.), Joe Courtney (D-Conn.), Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), Susan Davis (D-Calif.), Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), Mike Doyle (D-Pa.), Sam Farr (D-Calif.), Bill Foster (D-Ill.), Lois Frankel (D-Fla.), Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), Ruben Gallego (D-Texas), Raúl M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.), Janice Hahn (D-Calif.), Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.), Brian Higgins (D-N.Y.), Mike Honda (D-Calif.), Jared Huffman (D-Calif.), Steve Israel (D-N.Y.), Joe Kennedy (D-Mass.), Dan Kildee (D-Mich.) Derek Kilmer (D-Wash.), Ann McLane Kuster (D-N.H.), James R. Langevin (D-R.I.), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), John Lewis (D-Ga.), Dave Loebsack (D-Iowa), Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), Alan Lowenthal (D-Calif.), Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), Betty McCollum (D-Minn.), Gwen Moore (D-Wis.), Patrick Murphy (D-Fla.), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-District of Columbia), Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), Scott Peters (D-Calif.), Chellie Pingree (D-Maine), Mike Quigley (D-Ill.), Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.), John Sarbanes (D-Md.), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), Bobby Scott (D-Va.), Jose Serrano (D-N.Y.), Brad Sherman (D-Calif.), Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.), Adam Smith (D-Wash.), Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.), Dina Titus (D-Nev.), Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.), Niki Tsongas (D-Mass.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) and John Yarmuth (D-Ky.).