More House Republicans Support DOMA Repeal
Another Republican joins the ranks of those supporting a bill to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act.
Rep. Charles Bass of New Hampshire has just become the second House Republican within the last week to co-sponsor the Respect for Marriage Act, a bill that will be reintroduced in the House next year, according to the Advocate.
He joins Rep. Richard Hanna of New York, who pledged support for the bill last week, and Florida Congressman Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.
"With Congressman Charlie Bass' announcement that he will be the 160th cosponsor of the Respect for Marriage Act in the 112th Congress, we add another Republican supporter for repealing the so-called Defense of Marriage Act," Jo Deutsch, federal director for Freedom to Marry told the Advocate.
"Whether in Washington, DC and the halls of Congress or in his home state of New Hampshire, Congressman Bass is a strong voice for what is fair and right. We are thrilled to have Congressman Bass join Congressmembers Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Richard Hanna as Republicans who support the Respect for Marriage Act. We look forward to more Republicans supporting the freedom to marry in the new Congress."
DOMA is a 1996 law that defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman, thus depriving gay couples of the rights and privileges granted to heterosexual couples, like filing tax returns together and maintaining estate rights after widowing.
Originally introduced in 2011 in the Senate by Senator Dianne Feinstein, the Respect for Marriage Act was killed in the House. Legislators hope the new-found shift in attitudes, as seen in the last election, will be enough to pass the bill in the next legislative session.
"I think he wants to be on the right side of his history," Kathryn Lehman, a lesbian Republican lobbyist working on the repeal effort, said of Bass.
"His state has marriage, and the Republicans control the House and Senate in New Hampshire. I think he wants to show solidarity with his state and I think he just thinks it's the right thing to do."