WASHINGTON, D.C. – Democrats Betty McCollum and Keith Ellison have cosponsored a bill in the House that would direct the federal government to recognize same-sex marriage performed in states where the practice is legal and to provide benefits to individuals in a same-sex marriage.
The legislation, which has 94 cosponsors, is called the Respect for Marriage Act and was introduced by Democratic Reps. Jerrold Nadler of New York, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin and Jared Polis of Colorado.
If passed, the bill would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, a 13-year-old bill that was passed under President Bill Clinton.
The Defense of Marriage Act defines marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman. It also states that no state needs to treat a relationship between people of the same sex as a marriage or recognize a same-sex relationship that is considered a marriage in another state.
At the time, Democrat Martin Sabo was the only Minnesota lawmaker to vote against the bill. Minnesota Democratic Reps. David Minge, Bruce Vento, William Luther, Collin Peterson and Jim Oberstar voted for it, as did Republican Reps. Gil Gutknecht and Jim Ramstad.
In the Senate, both Democratic Sen. Paul Wellstone and Republican Sen. Rod Grams voted for the bill.
During the campaign, Obama called for a repeal, but has stepped away from the issue since then.