One of the chief backers of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) reaffirmed his support Monday for the federal law banning same-sex marriage.
U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn said he does not believe that Oklahoma should be required to honor any marriage that the state does not recognize as legal.
“Number two, I believe marriage is a foundational institution that civil society is based on,” he said during a town hall meeting at East Central University. “It’s between a man and a woman and nobody else.”
The Oklahoma Republican was one of the co-sponsors of DOMA when Congress passed the bill and sent it to then-President Bill Clinton, who signed it into law. The 1996 law says marriage is between a man and a woman, and it bars federal agencies from recognizing same-sex marriages in states where they are legal.
Under the law, same-sex couples in states where their marriage is legal receive state and local marriage benefits, but they cannot receive federal benefits.
DOMA returned to the national spotlight last week, when the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in two cases about same-sex marriage. The first case involved a challenge to California’s Proposition 8, a voter-approved ban on same--sex marriages in that state.
The second case centered on whether DOMA violates the Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection under the law.
The Supreme Court is expected to issue a ruling before the term ends in June.
Coburn did not comment specifically on the court cases during the town hall meeting, but he did assert his support for traditional marriage.
“I believe a marriage should be between a man and a woman, and that is an institution of civil society of which children and society as a whole has benefited markedly,” he said.