For Immediate Release Contact: Bernard Cherkasov
September 15, 2009 773-477-7173
Statewide Group Applauds introduction of
Bill repealing Defense of Marriage Act and
Announces Support of Illinois Representatives in Congress
CHICAGO – Equality Illinois, the state’s largest organization advocating for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights, applauds today’s introduction in U.S. House of Representatives of the Respect for Marriage Act.
The bill would repeal the so-called “Defense” of Marriage Act (“DOMA”) and would ensure that valid marriages are respected under federal law. The bill was introduced by U.S. Representative Jerrold Naddler (NY) and is already co-sponsored by nearly 80 members of Congress.
Equality Illinois is pleased to announce the support of Illinois Representatives to Congress. Representatives Luis Guttierez, Jesse Jackson, Jr., Mike Quigley, and Jan Schakowski are among the original co-sponsors of the bill.
“The ill-intended Defense of Marriage Act defends nobody’s marriage. On the contrary, singling out gay and lesbian couples for discrimination only brings pain to tens of thousands of hardworking American families,” – said Bernard Cherkasov, the organization’s Chief Executive Officer. “The time to repeal DOMA is long overdue.”
Equality Illinois signed an open letter to Congress, stating in part: “When DOMA was enacted, its harms were not yet fully appreciated because same-sex couples were not able to marry in any U.S. state. Since then, eight states and the District of Columbia have recognized equal marriage rights for same-sex couples, and thousands of couples have married. Because of DOMA, the federal government does not honor their legal commitment and the needs of their families, even though these couples have assumed the obligations of civil marriage under state law and contribute as citizens and taxpayers.” The letter was co-signed by about 30 organizations, and can be viewed at www.EqualityIllinois.org.
Equality Illinois was founded to secure, protect and defend the civil rights of lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender Illinoisans. It is one of the Midwest’s largest gay civil rights organizations.