WASHINGTON -- The U.S. bishops have urged the Senate Judiciary Committee not to repeal the federal Defense of Marriage Act, known as DOMA, calling it important for human rights and the common good.
"DOMA advances the common good in a manner consistent with the human dignity of all persons," Bishop Salvatore J. Cordileone of Oakland, Calif., chairman of the U.S. bishops' Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage, wrote in a Nov. 2 letter to committee members.
DOMA defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman and gives states the authority to reject same-sex marriages that may have been legally recognized in other states.
The Senate Judiciary Committee began debate Nov. 3 on legislation to repeal the law. Called the Respect for Marriage Act, the legislation would end what its supporters consider illegal discrimination against legally married same-sex couples.
However, advocates for traditional marriage said the Senate bill, S. 598, and an identical House bill, H.R. 1116, would open the door to redefining marriage and would eventually force states where same-sex marriage is illegal to recognize such unions.