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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Nov 10, 2011.
Respect for Marriage Act of 2011 - Amends the Defense of Marriage Act to repeal a provision that prohibited a state, territory, possession, or Indian tribe from being required to recognize any public act, record, or judicial proceeding of any other state, territory, possession, or tribe respecting a same sex marriage.
Amends the federal rules of construction added by such Act concerning the definitions of "marriage" and "spouse" to provide that, for purposes of any federal law in which marital status is a factor, an individual shall be considered married if that individual's marriage is valid in the state where the marriage was entered into or, in the case of a marriage entered into outside any state, if the marriage is valid in the place where entered into and the marriage could have been entered into in a state. Removes the definition of "spouse" (currently, a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife).