Defense of Marriage Act

September 05, 1996

Next week, the Senate will take up two controversial pieces of legislation on the cutting edge of civil rights in this country. The Defense of Marriage Act or DOMA says that the federal government refuses to recognize same sex marriages and allows states to do the same. While the White House has acknowledged that bigotry and divisiveness are driving this law, President Clinton has pledged to sign it. The gay and lesbian community has reacted with outrage. Fearing that gay voters might not show up in force for Clinton this November, the White House has decided to support a strategy to tag a pro-gay law onto this anti- gay law. The pro-gay law is the Employment Non Discrimination Act or ENDA which would bar job discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. At a Capitol Hill News Conference yesterday sponsored by Senators Ted Kennedy, Jimm Jeffords and Joseph Lieberman, ENDA supporters gave testimony on the importance of passing this law. Among them was Nan Miguel, whose story shows how ENDA benefits gay and straight workers alike.