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US Senator Dianne Feinstein, Chairwoman of the Senate (Select) Intelligence Committee listens as General David Petraeus testifies before Committee on his nomination to be director of the Central Intelligence Agency June 23, 2011 in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.
The Los Angeles City Council voted 12-0 today to support federal legislation that would allow same-sex couples the legal right to marry.
The Senate version of the Respect for Marriage Act, introduced by California Democrat Dianne Feinstein, would remove a key phrase in the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, that declares marriage a "legal union between one man and one woman'' and defines "spouse" as a person of the opposite sex.
Then-President Bill Clinton signed DOMA, which passed Congress on a 342-67 vote, into law in 1996.
"DOMA does not grant me the same rights that it does all the rest of you around this horseshoe that are heterosexual in your relationships when they're bonded," said Councilman Bill Rosendahl, the only openly gay member of the City Council.
"State by state, granting us our rights is beautiful to see, but it is meaningless until the federal government repeals DOMA," he said.
Rosendahl said that DOMA prevents same-sex couples from receiving the same federal income tax, social security and family medical leave benefits that heterosexual couples receive.
Council President Eric Garcetti introduced the resolution. "DOMA creates two classes of Americans with different laws for each, and we cannot afford in this day and age to have that," he said.
Correction: This story originally stated that the law the council is supporting was called the Protect Marriage Act. It is actually called the Respect for Marriage Act. Apologies for the error. The story also originally stated that the act would require states to recognize same-sex marriages granted by all other states. That's not the case. Thanks to our commenters for pointing out the error.