The law that prohibits federal recognition of their unions in under assault in the courts. The Obama administration has repudiated it and taken piecemeal steps to weaken its effects.
Yet for now, the Defense of Marriage Act remains very much in force – provoking anger, impatience and confusion among gay couples.
Because of DOMA, some binational couples still worry about deportation of the non-citizen spouse. Survivor benefits aren’t granted after one spouse dies. And couples filing joint tax returns in the states allowing same-sex marriage must still file separately this month with the IRS.
Said Brian Sheerin, who wed his partner six years ago in Massachusetts, “There are times I feel like a third-class citizen.”
When DOMA was passed overwhelmingly by Congress in 1996, and signed by President Bill Clinton, it was a pre-emptive strike. There were no legally married same-sex couples in the United States.
Since 2004, however, thousands of gays and lesbians have married as Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Iowa and the District of Columbia legalized same-sex unions. Many others have wed in foreign countries.
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