A historic Senate hearing on a possible repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act revealed a large divide on beliefs about the definition of marriage but also showcased opposing arguments on a subject traditionalists say is often misunderstood — the purpose of marriage and government’s role in it.

Wednesday’s hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee marked the first time any Senate or House committee ever held a hearing on overturning the 1996 law, which defines marriage for federal purposes as between a man and a woman and gives states the option of not recognizing another state’s gay “marriages.” Gay groups view its reversal as the first step toward redefining marriage in all 50 states.

The Respect for Marriage Act (S. 598), endorsed by President Obama, would overturn the 15-year-old-law, often called “DOMA.” It has very little chance of passing in the current Congress.

“I think what we have is a situation where a lot of folks simply don’t understand what marriage is,” Edward Whelan, president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, told senators.

Continue Reading on www.bpnews.net