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What is the Respect for Marriage Act?

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Question: What is the Respect for Marriage Act?
The Defense of Marriage act, passed in 1996 requires that the federal government not recognize same-sex marriage, even in places where it is legal.
Answer: The Respect for Marriage Act repeals the Defense of Marriage Act and restores the rights of all lawfully married couples, including same-sex couples, to receive the benefits of marriage under federal law.

The Respect for Marriage Act also guarantees that same-sex couples who marry in states where marriages are legal will keep those federal rights, even if they move or travel to a state where gays and lesbians cannot marry.

The act does not require states to give state level marriage benefits if the state does not recognize same-sex marriage. Nor does it obligate any person, state, locality, or religious organization to celebrate or license a marriage between two persons of the same sex.

The Respect for Marriage Act was introduced by U.S. Representatives Jerrold Nadler of New York, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, and Jared Polis of Colorado on September 15, 2009. The Act has not yet been voted on.

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