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Coalition presses Senator Reed on overturning Defense of Marriage Act

September 27, 2011

A coalition of pr0-same sex marriage groups, including Marriage Equality Rhode Island, is calling on Senator Jack Reed to sign on to a measure that would overturn the Defense of Marriage Act. (In February, the Obama administration said it would stop defending DOMA, which prohibits federal recognition of same-sex marriage.)

Besides MERI, the other groups in the coalition are Freedom to Marry, Courage Campaign, and Ocean State Action. Here’s part of the joint news release:

The online campaign by the four groups will collect signatures from a variety of constituents across Rhode Island. Currently, Rhode Island honors the marriages of same-sex couples married out of state, but those couples are still harmed by federal marriage discrimination under DOMA. The state does not presently allow Rhode Island same-sex couples to marry within the state. Reed is the only member of the Rhode Island Congressional delegation who has yet to cosponsor the Respect for Marriage Act. Representative Jim Langevin joined Senator Sheldon Whitehouse and Representative David Ciciline in cosponsoring the bill nearly two weeks ago.

“As a distinguished military veteran and West Point graduate, we hope that Sen. Reed will recognize the importance of full equality for all Americans, particularly in this post ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ world,” said Rick Jacobs, chair and founder of the Courage Campaign, a national grassroots, progressive online organization. “We ask that Reed join his colleague Senator Whitehouse and the majority of American people in calling for the repeal of the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act.“

I have a call in to the senator’s office, and will post an update after hearing back.

UPDATE: Reed voted for DOMA, back in 1996.

UPDATE II: Reed spokesman Chip Unruh responded late Tuesday with the following comment:

This is an important issue. The senator always appreciates hearing from Rhode Islanders and takes their input into consideration.

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