According to a press release from the Senate Judiciary Committee, "in the coming weeks, the Committee will hold the first congressional hearing on proposals to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act."
The hearing was announced on the heels of a filing by the Department of Justice in support of a female federal court employee who was suing the federal government for denying her access to equal benefits for her wife. In the brief, the DOJ acknowledged that "the federal government has played a significant and regrettable role in the history of discrimination against gay and lesbian individuals." In February the DOJ had announced that it would no longer defend DOMA in court because it considered it unconstitutional.
Leahy had joined with Sen. Kirstin Gillibrand (D-NY), Sen. Dianne Feinsten (D-CA), and others earlier this year to introduce the Respect for Marriage Act, which would repeal DOMA and give same-sex couples marriage benefits under federal law.
"I applaud Chairman Leahy for holding this important hearing to end the discrimination that is currently enshrined into U.S. law," Gillibrand said in a statement Thursday.
"Marriage is the true foundation for strong families. Every loving, committed couple deserves the basic human right to get married, start a family, and have access to all the same rights and privileges that my husband and I enjoy. No politician should stand in the way of this fact," she said.