Congressman signs legal brief to overthrow federal gay marriage ban

Congressman Jim Himes has joined 211 of his U.S. House and Senate colleagues in filing an amicus brief in support of overthrowing the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

The supporting legal brief files by Himes and others involves the U.S. Supreme Court case of United States vs. Edith Windsor, which challenges the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act.

The federal act, passed into law in the 1990s under President Bill Clinton, prevents legally-married gay couples from receiving more than 1,000 federal benefits that straight couples receive, including pension benefits, estate tax benefits, and Social Security survivor benefits.

Current situation is ‘unconscionable’

Himes, a third-term Democrat whose district includes part of Shelton, said the time has come for equality in marriage and marriage-related benefits.

“With hundreds of legally-married same-sex couples in Connecticut waiting for recognition and the benefits it will bring,” Himes said, “it is unconscionable for the federal government to deny them equal protection any longer. People like Edith have paid an enormous price for this lingering inequality, and I am determined to see DOMA overturned.

He continued, “With the President [Barack Obama], other elected officials from both sides of the aisle, and major businesses all expressing their support for equal marriage rights, I am hopeful that the Supreme Court will ultimately rule in favor of marriage equality and help our country take an enormous step towards achieving equal treatment for all Americans."

Wants federal recognition of gay marriage

"I am proud to join over 200 of my colleagues," Himes said, " in affirming the right of committed gay couples to have their marriages recognized by the federal government."

Himes represents the Fourth the District that includes 17 towns and cities, covering most of Fairfield County. He lives in Greenwich.

Shelton is divided between two congressional districts. Congressman Rosa DeLauro, also a Democrat, represents the Third District that covers other parts of Shelton.