“Today the Court simply affirmed that our country won’t tolerate second-class marriages,” said Mary Bonauto, GLAD’s Civil Rights Project Director, who argued the case. “I’m pleased that Judge Tauro recognized that married same-sex couples and surviving spouses have been seriously harmed by DOMA and that the plaintiffs deserve the same opportunities to care and provide for each other and for their children that other families enjoy. This ruling will make a real difference for countless families in Massachusetts.” “I am thrilled that my family will now be treated in the same way as those of my married co-workers at the post office,” said Nancy Gill, who is a plaintiff with her spouse, Marcelle Letourneau. “Marcelle and I married out of love and commitment to each other first and foremost, but federal recognition of our marriage means that we’ll have equal access to important protections for our two children and for ourselves.”
“Today’s decisions mark immensely important and inspiring steps toward equality for all families under American law. Since 1996, the so-called ‘Defense of Marriage Act’ has defended no one, while imposing senseless and cruel discrimination against married same-sex couples and their families. We applaud Judge Tauro’s conclusion today that Congress acted beyond its authority when it used the massive power of the federal government to impose a discriminatory marriage definition on the states. With today’s decisions, the federal court orders that the heavy hand of the U.S. government must be lifted off the scales of justice, so all legally married people – gay and straight alike – can receive the same treatment under U.S. law and in federal benefit programs. We applaud the outstanding work of our colleagues at GLAD and the vision of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts that went to court to defend married same-sex couples in their state, and the courage of the plaintiffs in Gill for standing up for justice.”
Human Rights Campaign:
“Today’s decision is a confirmation of what every lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender American knows to be a basic truth – we, and our families, are equal,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “This is an important step forward, but there is a long path ahead before we see this discriminatory law consigned to the dustbin of history. We thank our friends at Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, their courageous plaintiffs and Attorney General Coakley for standing up on behalf of married same-sex couples across the country and for their continued commitment to equality as these cases move forward. Judge Tauro’s decisions make clear that there is no constitutional justification for DOMA, despite the Department of Justice’s contentions in defending the statute. While we expect the Department to continue to defend DOMA on appeal, we urge the Obama administration to push Congress to repeal a law that we know, and Judge Tauro recognized, serves no purpose but to denigrate our families.”
“This ruling is welcome news to married couples in Iowa. Section 3 of DOMA has unfairly denied federal-level protections to committed, married same-sex couples in states like Iowa. We excitedly await the day when our federal government treats us equally in the same manner as we are treated by the state of Iowa. Today’s decision brings us one step closer.”
Freedom To Marry:
Today’s ruling affirms what we have long known: federal discrimination enacted under DOMA is unconstitutional. The decision will be appealed and litigation will continue. But what we witnessed in the courtroom cannot be erased: federal marriage discrimination harms committed same-sex couples and their families for no good reason. Today’s ruling provides increased momentum to the national movement to end exclusion from marriage and Freedom to Marry’s Roadmap to secure the freedom to marry nationwide. The crucial work of changing hearts and minds and winning the freedom to marry in more states is more urgent than ever as we build on today’s momentum and encourage other decision-makers to do the right thing and end exclusion from marriage.