Thursday, September 29, 2011

Collins "Unfamiliar" With DOMA Impact

Sen. Collins, who has won plaudits and awards from several gay rights groups in recent months--and is slated to be honored by another prominent group next week--professes not to know how the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is affecting gay couples:

When Metro Weekly spoke with Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) about her views on the repeal of DOMA, the senator celebrated by many LGBT advocates for her prominent role in ending "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" said she was unfamiliar with the federal impact of DOMA on same-sex couples and with the law aimed at repealing DOMA...

Speaking with Metro Weekly at [the Sept. 20 Log Cabin Republican's dinner honoring her], Collins had no view on the bill and claimed to be unaware of the impact of Section 3 of DOMA--which defines "marriage" and "spouse" in federal law as referring only to marriages between one man and one woman.

Asked about and given a brief description of the [Respect for Marriage Act, which would repeal DOMA], Collins said, "I was going to say, I'm not sure what the Respect for Marriage Act is." She then added that she would "have to look at that."

Collins then said that she hadn't "looked at" the federal limits on marriage recognition put in place by DOMA, stating that she was not aware of how Section 3 of DOMA impacts same-sex couples.

Collins's comments are particularly confusing given that she was the sole Republican Senate co-sponsor of the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act in the 111th Congress, a bill to extend health insurance benefits to federal employees in same-sex relationships--legislation made necessary by Section 3 of DOMA.

Asked on Sept. 28 for follow-up information about Collins's position on DOMA and the RMA, Collins's office was unable to provide immediate comment and a spokesman did not respond to an email seeking comment.

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