Documenting Same-Sex Couples and the Defense of Marriage Act


Same-sex marriage is legal in nine states and one district, yet it is not federally recognized under the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage as the legal union between one man and one woman.

Through contemporary interviews and verite style footage, The Legal Stranger Project presents a series of personal stories conveying the disparities encountered by same-sex couples in the U.S. Married same-sex couples are considered legal strangers in the eyes of the federal government.

Statements from the first hearing ever held to repeal DOMA on July 20, 2011:

Rep. John Lewis:

“The Defense of Marriage Act is a stain on our democracy. We must do away with this unjust, discriminatory law once and for all. It reminds me of another dark time in our nation’s history, in many years when states passed laws banning blacks and whites from marrying. We look back on that time now with disbelief. And one day we will look back on this period with that same sense of disbelief.”

Rep. Steve King:

“The other side argues that you cannot choose who you love and that a union between two men or two women is equal to that of one man and one woman. But these are the same arguments that could be used to promote marriage between fathers and daughters, mothers and sons, or even polygamous relationships.”