Wednesday, July 20, 2011

TODAY: Senate Considers DOMA Repeal

The U.S. Senate will today begin debate on the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act. Among those scheduled to testify are a long list of gay Americans who've suffered under DOMA.
On Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee will consider a bill that would do that and — for the first time — give federal benefits to same-sex couples who marry. Those benefits would have made a big difference for Ron Wallen of Indio, Calif., who spent more than half a century with Tom Carrollo. Carrollo died in March after a long illness, a few months shy of their third wedding anniversary. Now Wallen's not only grieving for his husband, but he's also facing financial chaos. "It's hard to accept that it's the American government that's throwing me out of my family home," Wallen told NPR. Under the federal Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, a marriage must be between a man and a woman. So Wallen is not entitled to get his husband's small monthly pension or his Social Security survivor's benefits, which are double the payments Wallen gets on his own.
Yesterday President Obama endorsed the repeal attempt, which of course has virtually no chance of passage in the U.S. House.