Wisconsin’s Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D) on repealing the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

Those of us who have been fighting the battle to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act since it became law, have long known that we have fairness and justice on our side. Now, after years of educating and agitating, it is heartening to know that we have, also, the American public on our side.

The recently released HRC-sponsored poll shows that Americans oppose DOMA 50-34. And even more voters, 54 percent, oppose the House Republican move to defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court.

Repealing DOMA is important symbolically and substantively. Now that we have repealed ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ the Defense of Marriage Act remains the only example of overt discrimination against gays and lesbians written into our federal statutes.

When the laws of our nation declare us, somehow, ‘less than,’ it sends a message that we are, somehow, ‘less than;’ and we are not.

But substantively, DOMA harms real Americans. It harms children and their loving parents. It harms elderly life-long partners. And it harms widows and widowers.

Fourteen years ago, an openly gay Wisconsin Republican asked the GAO to count all of the rights and responsibilities that the federal government confers based on marriage. Former Congresswoman Steve Gunderson learned that over a thousand rights and responsibilities were conferred based on marriage. Today, that number is even higher.

All I am trying to say is that repeal of DOMA matters; and it is the best of family values.