SCOTUS On DOMA and Prop 8: The Reactions

With the Supreme Court’s historic ruling 5-4 today on the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s Prop 8 – striking down a provision of DOMA that denied same-sex couples federal benefits, and leaving in place the challenged trial court decision on Prop 8 that will now allow same-sex marriage in California – the reactions from local and national leaders are flooding in.

Here’s a look at what people are saying:

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn:

“Love and equality prevail. I thank the Supreme Court for overturning the clearly unconstitutional and unjust Defense of Marriage Act. The City of Seattle filed amicus briefs in support of overturning DOMA in part because it forced us to tax our employees in same-sex marriages differently than those in opposite-sex relationships. Same-sex married couples in Washington State will now enjoy full equality in the eyes of the federal government. It is long overdue.”

King County Executive Dow Constantine:

“I am pleased and proud that the Supreme Court has officially recognized the civil rights of same-sex couples, rights that Washington State voters embraced last year. Being able to issue the first marriage licenses to happy same-sex couples was one of the highlights of my career. Thankfully, it appears that there will be many more such joyful moments as our nation moves, sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly, ever closer to the ideals announced at our founding. I am proud of King County and Washington State for helping to nudge the nation toward justice.”

U.S. Sen. Patty Murray:

“Today is a day of joy for all of the loving, committed LGBT couples across America, including the more than 2,400 couples who married in my home state of Washington this year, and for all of us who respect and support them. Thanks to the LGBT and allied communities’ commitment to achieving equality, today’s ruling is a true demonstration that the tide is turning, and it is turning rapidly across the country.

“This is a great day for the civil rights and marriage equality movement. Following this good news, I’m going to work with the administration and my colleagues in Congress to ensure that all the rights and federal benefits enjoyed by married couples are provided to LGBT couples as quickly as possible, including to unite bi-national LGBT couples who have been split apart by this discriminatory law.  

“While there is much to celebrate today, the fight is not over and I will continue working until who a person loves or where they live, no longer determines their eligibility for the federal protections and responsibilities other married couples enjoy.”

State Sen. Ed Murray:

“Today’s historic decisions by the United States Supreme Court overturning DOMA and dismissing the challenge to marriage equality in California are the culmination of the great civil rights struggle of our current generation. It would not have happened without the brave, tireless work of countless thousands of determined Americans, both gay and straight. And the people of Washington State helped to lead the way, upholding our marriage equality law at the ballot last November. I am so proud of you all, and so proud of our country. Together, we have changed the course of history for the better, expanding equality and opportunity for all.”

State Sen. Kevin Ranker (D, Orcas Island):

“This is a great day for equality and yet another blow against intolerance. The highest court in the land has reaffirmed that all people are indeed created equal with the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, regardless of whom they love.

“We knew when we passed marriage equality in Washington that not all loving couples would have the same opportunities when it came to federal benefits. Now because of today’s ruling, all couples in our state will enjoy the same federal marital benefits.

“I have shared with you before how very personally committed I am to this battle for absolute equality. That battle is not over, but as each barrier crumbles, each of us is closer to living in the sort of society that we aspire to be a part of, one that is truly tolerant and welcoming of all people. This should be an ultimate goal of every one of us.

“The Defense of Marriage Act was a relic from a time of intolerance and fear. It had no place in an America where gay and straight soldiers fight side-by-side for our freedom. A country where gay and straight parents raise wonderful, healthy children. A country that embraces equality and justice. The Defense of Marriage Act had no place in a country that has seen 12 states embrace full marriage equality.

“I’m proud to live in a state that has led this charge.”

Executive Director of the Family Policy Institute of Washington Joseph Backholm:

“The Supreme Court got it wrong when it said that the state can tell the federal government how it must define marriage. The federal government, on behalf of those who elected them, should be able to recognize the unique value of relationships that provide children a mother and father.”

“However, those who want to redefine marriage suffered an important defeat today. The Supreme Court refused to declare a constitutional right to same-sex “marriage,” and rejected their request to impose a redefinition of marriage on all fifty states.  This decision means that this important debate will continue state by state across the country.”

President Obama:

“I applaud the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act. This was discrimination enshrined in law. It treated loving, committed gay and lesbian couples as a separate and lesser class of people. The Supreme Court has righted that wrong, and our country is better off for it. We are a people who declared that we are all created equal – and the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.

“This ruling is a victory for couples who have long fought for equal treatment under the law; for children whose parents’ marriages will now be recognized, rightly, as legitimate; for families that, at long last, will get the respect and protection they deserve; and for friends and supporters who have wanted nothing more than to see their loved ones treated fairly and have worked hard to persuade their nation to change for the better.

“So we welcome today’s decision, and I’ve directed the Attorney General to work with other members of my Cabinet to review all relevant federal statutes to ensure this decision, including its implications for Federal benefits and obligations, is implemented swiftly and smoothly.

“On an issue as sensitive as this, knowing that Americans hold a wide range of views based on deeply held beliefs, maintaining our nation’s commitment to religious freedom is also vital. How religious institutions define and consecrate marriage has always been up to those institutions. Nothing about this decision – which applies only to civil marriages – changes that.

“The laws of our land are catching up to the fundamental truth that millions of Americans hold in our hearts: when all Americans are treated as equal, no matter who they are or whom they love, we are all more free.”

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