UPDATE: Reactions to DOMA decision
U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, R-NY, was the first to fill my inbox with a statement on the U.S. Supreme Court striking down the federal Defense of Marriage Act.
“Today is a historic day for our country on its long march towards upholding the fundamental values this country was founded upon of fairness, equality and justice," said Gillibrand in a statement. "I am overjoyed the Supreme Court has ruled to end the discrimination that had been enshrined into U.S. law."
She added that from this day forward, no politician should deny committed couples the right to get married and start a family.
“Now that the Supreme Court has ruled DOMA is unconstitutional, Congress must do its job and get this corrosive law off the books so there is certainty for all loving committed couples across state lines. I promise to work hard to pass the Respect for Marriage Act and finally put the discriminatory DOMA policy into the dustbin of history where it belongs," she said.
U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko, D-Amsterdam, noted in a statement that today's decision ensures that 12 states, including New York, will provide couples in a same-sex marriage with the same federal benefits as couples in a traditional marriage.
“I applaud today’s decision by the Supreme Court to federally recognize same-sex marriages across the nation and potentially provide equal recognition and benefits for millions of Americans,” said Tonko in a statement. “The so-called Defense of Marriage Act violated the Constitution’s promise of equal protection, and its defeat today has granted long overdue dignity and recognition to married same-sex couples in New York and across the nation."
Benefits include health insurance and pension protections for federal employees' spouses, social security benefits for widows and widowers and joint income tax filing and exemption from federal estate taxes.
"Marriage is about love, respect, and commitment, and in the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn DOMA, our nation has taken a big step toward truly defending the institution of marriage," he added.
Nathan M. Schaefer, executive director for the Empire State Pride Agenda, wrote in an email to supporters that today's DOMA decision made for an "historic day."
"The Pride Agenda heralds this historic decision that means that our federal government must recognize our marriages and grant our families access to federal benefits," he said.
Schaefer added, "The Pride Agenda also is elated that the Supreme Court dismissed the appeal concerning the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8, which took away the freedom to marry from same-sex couples in that state. As a result, the lower court judgment striking down Proposition 8 stands, and loving committed couples in the most populous state in the union will have the ability to marry."
New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, who filed a friend-of-the-court brief in on behalf of New York, said today's decision is a victory for the American principles of equal justice under the law,
“Gay and lesbian Americans and their families have not only gained legal rights; but shed the unjust stigma that comes with being victims of legally sanctioned discrimination," he said in a statement. "Our nation has moved one step closer to fulfilling our founding ideals, and I am proud that New York was on the right side of history in this case.”
Gov. Andrew Cuomo put out a statement calling the court's decisions on Prop 8 and DOMA groundbreaking civil rights victories.
"From the Stonewall Riots 44 years ago this week, to the passage of marriage equality in New York, to today’s decision to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act that originated from a case brought by a New York resident, this state has been at the forefront of this movement," Cuomo said. "It is my hope that today’s breakthrough decisions will propel our nation forward and finally allow all Americans to be granted the same rights and protections under the law."
New Yorker's Family Research Foundation President Rev. Jason J. McGuire released a statement of disappointment with the court's rulings on Wednesday.
"Under any fair and reasonable reading of the Constitution, the federal government has the freedom to recognize marriage as an opposite-sex relationship, regardless of whether or not an individual state sets forth a different definition of marriage," he said regarding DOMA getting struck down.
"Today, the Supreme Court had an opportunity to uphold the United States Constitution, and to reaffirm the importance and value of traditional marriage," McGuire said. "It is unfortunate that the Court declined to take that opportunity; however, NYFRF is thankful that the Court did not rule that there is a constitutional right to same-sex 'marriage' that must be recognized in every state. Individual states will continue the marriage debate and we remain optimistic that our culture will collectively affirm the importance of both mothers and fathers in their children's lives."
We'll have more statements as they're sent to me.
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