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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, June 28, 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 26
Moving on from DOMA - Congress must now act quickly to grant full federal rights to same-sex couples
Section One
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Moving on from DOMA - Congress must now act quickly to grant full federal rights to same-sex couples

by Patty Murray - United States Senator

Each June, Pride Month brings communities together to honor diversity, equality, and love. And as the month winds down, we can all celebrate some truly historic gains as LGBT couples are finally able to express their commitment to each other in the same way so many other Washingtonians have throughout our state's history - by joining in marriage and saying 'I do.'

When former Gov. Gregoire signed the marriage equality bill into law last year, it was a day of joy for all of the loving, committed LGBT couples in our state and for all of us who respect and support them. Unfortunately, there were those who felt the need to try and turn back the clock and roll back the gains we made. Thankfully, there was an impressive coalition of organizations, unions, congregations, and businesses in our state who were determined to work just as hard, if not harder, to defend our victory and pass Referendum 74. Now, the state I love is one step closer to ensuring we are not discriminating against anyone because of who they love.

Passing R-74 was a moment for our state to show why we are looked upon as a national model for being inclusive, for being accepting, and for embracing what makes us alike and what makes us different. But most importantly, it was a moment to reaffirm the fundamental right that we all have, from Seattle to Spokane and all across our great nation, to live and love freely, fairly, and equally. But our fight does not end there.

Thanks to the LGBT and allied communities' commitment to achieving equality, the moral arc of the universe bent further toward justice this month as the Supreme Court finally struck down DOMA - paving the way for LGBT married couples to receive equal access to federal protections and benefits. I'm going to work with the administration and my colleagues in Congress to ensure that all the rights and federal benefits enjoyed by married couples are provided to LGBT couples as quickly as possible, including the reunification of bi-national LGBT couples who have been split apart by this discriminatory law.

While perhaps nothing I do will be as important and as meaningful in these efforts as when I joined with so many Washingtonians to mark 'Approve' on my ballot in November, I am committed to continuing the fight for equality back in the 'other' Washington.

That's why right now in Congress I have once again signed on to the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA); it's why I'm working to implement tough new measures to combat bullying and harassment in our schools by cosponsoring the Student Non-Discrimination Act (SNDA); it's why I have called on Veterans Affairs Secretary Shinseki to allow LGBT veterans and their spouses to be buried alongside each other in our national cemeteries; and it's why I have teamed up with Congressman Steve Israel to introduce the Freedom from Discrimination in Credit Act (FDCA).

With the support of organizations like the Human Rights Campaign and Credit Union National Association, FDCA will once and for all prohibit discrimination in the provision of credit based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Obtaining credit is a critical step for many looking to buy a home, go to college, or start a small business. I believe equal protection under the law is a fundamental right in our country, and no one should suffer discrimination when trying to secure a roof over their head or a high-quality education. I am standing up against discrimination because as Americans we value fairness and equality, and together we will pass laws that live up to our ideals.

In Washington state, when we see discrimination, we all stand shoulder-to-shoulder to defeat it. From immigration and employment laws, to our policies for veterans and military families, I am continuously impressed by the advocacy and passion Washingtonians exhibit when the time calls. Clearly there is much to celebrate this Pride Month, but the fight is not over and I will continue working until who a person loves or where they live, no longer determines their eligibility for the federal protections and responsibilities other married couples enjoy.

Patty Murray has represented Washington in the U.S. Senate since 1993.

Tell a friend:

DOMA IS DEAD! - Prop 8 appeal dismissed!
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Ron Sims endorses Ed Murray for Mayor
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Reactions to this week's historic Supreme Court marriage equality decisions
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From the Publisher's Desk
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Seattleites cheer the death of DOMA
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McDermott reintroduces tax parity bill
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Ed Murray opens campaign office in Capitol Hill
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LGBT advocacy groups condemn Supreme Court ruling on voting rights
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Another Supreme Court victory - Arizona governor loses appeal on domestic partner benefits
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ASK MICHAEL: Pride marks history - We all are part of this community celebration
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Irish government promises public vote on marriage
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AT&T launches 'Live Proud' campaign
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Brussels marks 10 years of marriage equality
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Trans legal victory in Colorado - Student allowed to use the restroom of her chosen gender
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Jesse's Journal: Juan Ahonen-Jover and the 'Gay Agenda'
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'The winds of freedom are blowing' - Sec. of State Kerry pledges continued fight for LGBT rights
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BREAKING NEWS
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Seattle: Not great for grads?
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Seattle a hotbed for LGBT sports - New survey places the Emerald City just below the top 10
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Murray momentum continues - Ed rolls up endorsements
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The Guide at Pride: A brief history
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