By Charlene Strong and Hans Johnson

EARLIER this month, a federal judge ruled that part of the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, is unconstitutional.

The ruling may spell the beginning of the end for the 1996 statute, a cornerstone of discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. But demise of the law may be achingly slow unless the U.S. House and Senate repeal it in full.

State legislators also need to follow the lead of Washington state by providing recognition for same-sex couples in state law. Equal access to civil marriage is the reality in five states and the District of Columbia, and thousands of families have gained recognition there. Still, DOMA mocks those relationships and removes that protection at the state lines.

DOMA singles out same-sex couples by denying our marriages the Constitution’s guarantee of full faith and credit extended to other jurisdictions’ contracts. Imagine if your driver’s license weren’t valid in Idaho. That’s the essence of DOMA.

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