President Barack Obama

President Obama has expressed his support for a new bill that, if passed, would repeal the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act.

On Tuesday, at a White House news conference, Press Secretary Jay Carney announced that Obama is in favour of the Respect for Marriage Act.

“The president has long called for the legislative repeal of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA),” Carney told reporters. “He is proud to support the Respect for Marriage Act.”

The new bill aims to repeal DOMA, the law that currently bars same-sex couples married in one of the six states that have legalised gay marriage from being recognised by or accessing benefits from the federal government.

While Obama has refused to say if he personally supports same-sex marriage he has said that he believes that states should have the right to decide on the issue.

“We thank the President for his support of the Respect for Marriage Act,” commented Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese.

“By supporting this legislation, the President continues to demonstrate his commitment to ending federal discrimination against tens of thousands of lawfully married same-sex couples,” he said.

The Respect for Marriage Act bill is the subject of a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. It is not thought that the bill has sufficient support from legislators to be passed at this point.

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