LOS ANGELES -- In response to a motion introduced by Council President Eric Garcetti and seconded by Councilmember Bill Rosendahl, the City Council on Tuesday unanimously voted in support of repealing the so-called "Defense of Marriage Act" through making support for Sen. Dianne Feinstein's "Respect for Marriage Act" the official policy of the City of Los Angeles.
"The rights and benefits denied by DOMA are critical to married couples. But DOMA's impact is far more profound. Our nation was founded on the principle that every American was created equal, and that all of us are to be treated equally under the law. It is simply un-American for the U.S. government to categorize people into separate groups with different laws for each," Garcetti said. "Equality is at the core of our nation's promise. This action is about Los Angeles doing its part toward keeping that promise."
"This is critical," said openly gay City Councilmember Bill Rosendahl. "As gay people, we do not get our basic civil and human rights."
"Currently, because of the Defense of Marriage Act, couples cannot take advantage of federal protections available to every other married couple in this nation," Rosendahl continued. "Gay couples cannot file joint federal income taxes and claim certain deductions, receive spousal benefits under Social Security, take unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act when a loved one falls seriously ill, or obtain the protections of the estate tax when one spouse passes and wants to leave his or her possessions to another."
According to Sen. Feinstein, the Respect for Marriage Act would strike DOMA from federal law and provide legally married, same-sex couples the same federal benefits, rights and privileges as all married Americans. Among the rights denied by DOMA are:
Joint filing of federal income taxes and claim certain deductions;
Spousal benefits under Social Security;
Unpaid leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act
"We would like to be able to raise our children together, share financial expenses together, and support each other in bad days and good days, in sickness and in health, till death do us part," Rosendahl said. "As of now, we don't get those rights when we file federal income tax and claim certain deductions. Everyone in this nation should be treated equally."