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Members Of Congress Hold Chicago Hearing On Same-Sex Marriage Rights

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Same Sex Marriage

(Credit: AP)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — Three Illinois members of Congress held a hearing in Chicago Friday on their effort to repeal the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which they call blatantly discriminatory.

As WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody reports, U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) is sponsoring a bill to repeal the act. He is joined by co-sponsors Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) and Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.)

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody reports

The three members of Congress held a hearing on the act Friday at City Council Chambers in Chicago’s City Hall. Ald. James Cappleman (46th), who has been with his partner for 20 years, offered testimony at the hearing.

Also testifying were four same sex couples and two legal experts – attorney Camilla Taylor of the LGBT civil rights firm Lambda Legal, and tax attorney Gail Morse of Jenner & Block, a news release said.

The Defense of Marriage Act was signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1996, after passing with large majorities in both houses of Congress. It defines marriage as between a man and a woman, and defines a spouse only as an opposite-sex person.

Several gay couples have said since the federal government does not recognize same-sex marriage, they are not treated fairly in terms of Social Security or income tax payments. Quigley says that was the point he was trying to make with the one-sided Congressional field hearing.

“This will become part of the official Congressional record. We want to do these hearings across the country, as well as in Washington, D.C.,” Quigley said. “This is a battle to win the hearts and minds of the American public.”

Quigley wants people to understand that the issue is “fundamental rights, and a respect for an individual’s ability to reflect their love in a manner that’s appropriate.

So does Quigley believe his efforts will succeed when all is set and done?

“I’d like to think within a couple years, we’ll get there,” he said.

Quigley also points out that the people often precede their leaders in moving for change.

“I’d like to think they’ll push Congress to do the right thing, sooner rather than later,” he said.

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