WASHINGTON — On Wednesday, December 7, U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05) spoke on the floor of the House of Representatives against the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), citing testimony received from prominent speakers and community organizations during a field hearing held in Chicago. Rep. Quigley’s speech was as follows:
“Mister Speaker, in 1996 Congress passed the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA. It was then, and still is today, an affront to our country’s values. Values we hold true, as established in the Declaration of Independence – of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” and of equality and fairness for all.
“On October 7, 2011, I held a field forum in Chicago to hear from legal experts and gay and lesbian couples about the real-world harm caused by DOMA. The findings were startling. I heard from parents afraid to take their children across state lines. I heard about children afraid that the “government” will take them away from their parents. I heard from a high-tech entrepreneur who might take his business and jobs to Brazil because he can’t sponsor his partner. And, I heard from couples that can’t count on Social Security, even though they’re legally married and have paid their fair share of taxes.
“I ask that the Clerk enter all of their testimony into the record, to formally document this collection of unfairness and inequity, burdens that are imposed on normal Americans just trying to live a normal life.
“It is incomprehensible that today we are still dealing with such injustice. Congress created this injustice and Congress should correct it.
“Let the record reflect these sentiments.”
In total 17 testimonials were received on behalf of numerous same-sex couples affected by DOMA, as well as national legal experts and public officials. Organizations that submitted testimony included CBA LGBT Committee, Equality Illinois, Heartland Alliance/National Immigrant Justice Center, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), Lambda Legal, and the LGBT Immigration Coalition.