Tell Jack Reed it's time to support the Respect for Marriage Act
It's time to end DOMA
Watch Pat and Deb's story then sign the petition:
Tell Jack Reed to support The Respect for Marriage Act
Rhode Islanders Deb Tevyaw and Pat Baker were married in Massachusetts in 2005.
Earlier this year, Pat, a correctional officer, was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer and given just months to live. Pat spent the last months of her life as an outspoken proponent of marriage equality legislation. She actively lobbied members of Rhode Island's Congressional delegation to win their support for the Respect for Marriage Act, a bill that would repeal the so-called Defense of Marriage Act.
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, Rep. Jim Langevin and Rep. David Cicilline are all co-sponsors of this important civil rights bill. Sen. Jack Reed is the only member of the Rhode Island delegation who has yet to support the bill. He voted for DOMA in 1996 when he was a member of the House. Today, Marriage Equality Rhode Island, Freedom to Marry, the Courage Campaign, and Ocean State Action sent a letterto Sen. Reed and asked him consider being part of the effort to repeal DOMA.
This video is Pat and Deb in their own words. Pat's portion is taken from testimony she gave at a State House hearing on marriage equality. Deb spoke to MERI shortly after Pat passed away in August.
Pat and Deb are just one family among thousands in Rhode Island who have been adversely and unjustly impacted by DOMA. Sign the petition below and send a powerful message to Sen. Reed. Tell him it's time to end DOMA and pass the Respect for Marriage Act.
All Rhode Islanders deserve equal protection and recognition under the law, regardless of gender identity or whom they love.
The so-called Defense of Marriage Act hurts Rhode Island families.Because of this law, married same-sex couples are treated as legal strangers in the eyes of the federal government and excluded from more than 1,100 federal laws in which marital status is a factor, including social security, immigration, and family and medical leave.
It's time to end DOMA.
Senator Dianne Feinstein has introduced S. 598, the Respect for Marriage Act, which repeals DOMA in its entirety. The Act ensures that valid marriages are respected under federal law, providing couples certainty that regardless of where they travel or move, they will not become strangers under federal law if another state refuses to recognize them as married for purposes of that state's law.
The Respect for Marriage Act does not obligate any person, religious organization, locality, or state to celebrate or license a marriage between two persons of the same sex. The First Amendment protects the right of churches and religious bodies to determine the qualifications for religious marriage, and the Respect for Marriage Act cannot and will not upset that centuries-old protection.
Sen. Reed, you have a record of supporting LGBTQ Rhode Islanders, and we now implore you to continue that tradition by signing on as a co-sponsor of the Respect for Marriage Act. In doing so, you would join Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, Congressman Jim Langevin and Congressman David Cicilline in supporting this important civil rights legislation.
Thousands of loving same-sex couples in Rhode Island have legally wed or plan to, and are committed to sharing their lives and building a family together. They need and deserve access to the same safety net and security that other families are afforded by the federal government.
On behalf of the majority of Rhode Islanders who support marriage equality, we respectfully ask you to do the right thing and co-sponsor the Respect for Marriage Act.