Senate Democrats repealed the Defense of Marriage Act on Thursday, with all 10 Democrats voting “yes” for the repeal, while the eight Republicans on the panel stood against it.
Former President Bill Clinton signed the act in 1996 and recognized marriage as a union between a man and a woman. The act granted 1,000 federal benefits exclusively to heterosexual panels.
Although the Democratic majority passed the repeal, it is unlikely it will go through the full Senate, as it is expected to meet firm opposition by the Republican-controlled House.
Currently, only six states recognize gay marriage: New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont and New Hampshire.
Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, who sponsored the bill, shared her vision on the measure: “Repealing the measure means that same-sex couples who wed in the six states that have legalized gay and lesbian marriages would be eligible for full federal benefits afforded to other couples, regardless of where they live."
Most Republicans, however, are not very pleased with the bill.
"The Defense of Marriage Act protects this sacred institution, which I believe in, and attempts to dismantle this law are likely to be met with a great deal of resistance," said Republican Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa.
Other members of the Republican Party said allowing same-sex couples full federal benefits would place even greater strain on the struggling economy.
Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas claimed the majority of people who pay taxes for Social Security do not want the money to be used for homosexual unions.