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Rep. Jerrold Nadler is taking the lead with two Democratic colleagues to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act, signed into law during the Clinton Administration.

The law bans the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages, which denies couples certain protections and benefits.

With the proliferation of same-sex marriage in some states since the law was passed, Nadler said its repeal is necessary to give full rights to legally married gays and lesbians.

“The full repeal of [the Defense of Marriage Act] is long overdue,” said Nadler, who chairs a subcommittee on the constitution and civil rights, in a statement. “Discrimination against committed couples and stable families is terrible federal policy.”

Nadler’s bill, the Respect for Marriage Act, would only have the federal government recognize same-sex marriages from states where they are permitted.

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