Rev. William Sinkford Speaks in Support of Respect for Marriage Act
Rev. William Sinkford Speaks in Support of Respect for Marriage Act

On September 15, 2009, in Washington, DC, Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Chair of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, along with Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO) held a press conference in support of federal legislation they introduced later in the day to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), a law which discriminates against lawfully married same-sex couples.

The legislators were joined by Rev. William G. Sinkford, past president of the Unitarian Universalist Association, by married same-sex couples harmed by DOMA and by many of the country's premier civil rights and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) advocates.

Rev. Sinkford said, "We believe that all people... gay or straight... have inherent worth and dignity. We believe that we are all children of God and that all of us should be treated equally by our government, that no class of citizens should be singled out for discrimination. DOMA does just that and we are strongly in support of its repeal. Other faith communities join us in that stance, the United Church of Christ and Reform Judaism among them." Read Rev. Sinkford's complete statement.

Through DOMA, which was signed into law 13 years ago, on September 21, 1996, the federal government singles out legally married same-sex couples for discriminatory treatment under federal law, selectively denying them more than 1,100 federal protections and responsibilities—including Social Security and immigration benefits—that otherwise apply to married couples. This policy is discriminatory and harmful to families, preventing the government from honoring its legal commitments and the needs of families, even though these couples have assumed the obligations of civil marriage under state law and contribute as citizens and taxpayers.

President Obama has said recently: "I stand by my long-standing commitment to work with Congress to repeal the so-called Defense of Marriage Act. It's discriminatory, it interferes with States' rights, and it's time we overturned it."

The new proposed legislation will ensure that couples who assume the serious legal duties of marriage are treated fairly under federal law.

Also appearing at the press conference were Joe Solmonese, President, Human Rights Campaign; Kevin Cathcart, Executive Director, Lambda Legal; and Evan Wolfson, Executive Director, Freedom to Marry.

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