DOMA /PROP 8 Statements from National and Local Community Leaders and Elected Officials:
“As one of only 67 members of Congress who voted against the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996, I am delighted that the Supreme Court has finally struck down this discriminatory act, ruling that same-sex marriages are equal in every way,” Rep. Slaughter said. “I am also delighted that our LGBT friends in California will no longer be barred from marrying the one they love. The court’s narrow decision on California’s Prop 8, however, means that same-sex couples in 38 states are still barred from equal marriage rights. I will not stop advocating for our LGBT friends until they are granted full equality in every state in our union.”
-Rep. Louise Slaughter, NY 25th Congressional District
“Like many in my LGBT community and our straight allies, it is difficult to put into words the emotional tide engulfing me at this historical moment. For years many of us have fought to have our love, our commitments and our relationships treated with the respect and dignity opposite sex couples enjoy. It is a proud day for our nation as the Court has now recognized the legitimate union of two loving adults without discrimination by rejecting DOMA. With this ruling we will no longer be treated as second class citizens by the Federal Government. This ruling will also encourage states which have not already done so to move forward with affording full rights to same sex couples. I applaud the community advocates, Edith Windsor and her legal team and the Justices who understand the Constitution and its application to our families.
Because of a legal technical challenge the Court in the Prop 8 did not render a final decision on our rights at the state level. Unfortunately the holding implies to all Americans that the different treatment of one group of citizens regarding marriage might be allowed under state laws; this leaves open the door that states may pass laws that provide a benefit for certain married couples in the form of health care coverage, family leave, tax treatment, and many other protections and responsibilities and to deny these same benefits to another group of married people. This is both morally and legally wrong.
It is more urgent than ever that we take our fight for equality to the court of public opinion state by state – which is trending on our side and on the side of full equality. Our work is still not done and I am, like many in our community, committed to fight for full equality for all our families. This battle is not lost; the struggle is not done; the fight continues; it is not done and will go on.”
-Harry B. Bronson, NYS Assemblymember 138th District (Rochester)
“This is what democracy looks like…equality under the law, minorities protected from the tyranny of the majority…it reflects the incredible genius that lies at the base of our system of government. Democracy is hard work – It took 200 years of struggle for African Americans to achieve their rights, 80 years for women to get the vote and the LGBT community has been paying their dues for admission to the club of fully equal citizens for a long time too. Our path is not complete, but we have a good road map and we stand on the shoulders of so many American heroes who have fought for civil rights for those before us. I am so proud to be an American today.”
-Bess Watts, VP National Executive Board, Pride at Work, AFL-CIO (Rochester, N.Y.)
“In a landmark ruling, the Supreme Court today gutted the Defense of Marriage Act. Now all couples who are legally married must be recognized as such by the federal government, including same-sex couples who have won the right to wed in 12 states and the District of Columbia. And in California, same-sex couples will likely be able to marry again soon.
This outcome was predicted by legal experts, but it’s still a remarkable and hopeful moment. And while the ruling doesn’t extend marriage equality to any other states, it does mean that when we finally win there too, those wins will be even sweeter.
I’m proud that openly LGBT elected officials led fights in states that today recognize our marriages. They’ve been crucial to building the bridges to equality that their straight colleagues cross.
Now we must begin to change the hearts and minds of voters, lawmakers and political leaders in the 38 states that still forbid gays and lesbians to marry. That will take the work of the fantastic coalitions that have seen much success in recent years, and it will require electing more LGBT people to change legislatures from the inside.
Today we owe a hearty thank-you to the legal team that won a huge victory for Edie Windsor and same-sex couples across the country. The American Civil Liberties Union had a lot of help from some of our movements most dedicated and impressive legal minds, and all of them have worked hard on cases that brought us to this moment.
Most importantly, we owe much gratitude to Edie Windsor herself, who refused to give up when her government told her she was a second-class citizen. Because of her bravery, we’re a step closer to erasing discrimination against same-sex couples. Please join me in sending Edie your thanks here.-Chuck Wolfe, Victory Fund President and CEO