State, Local Leaders React To Same-Sex Marriage Rulings

Wikipedia photo via Ludovic BertronLocal political leaders praised Wednesday’s Supreme Court rulings on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and California’s Proposition 8.

In a 5-4 decision, the court said the federal ban on benefits to same-sex couples is unconstitutional.

It also issued a procedural ruling that will clear the way for same-sex marriage in California, where Proposition 8 had banned gay marriage.

Maryland and Maine last November became the first states to uphold same-sex marriage by popular vote.

Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D) released the following statement:

Today the Supreme Court affirmed the founding principle that makes American so great – that all of us are created equal, that we are endowed by our creator with certain unalienable rights, including life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  By declaring the misnamed Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional, the Court recognized that the federal government must treat all families who are legally married in our nation equally.  By allowing the lower court’s decision striking down California’s Proposition 8 to take effect, the Court is allowing people across that state to make a legal commitment to the person they love – they join Maryland and 10 other states plus the District of Columbia in allowing marriage equality for loving families. These two rulings are a crucial victory, but the fight for marriage equality is not over. We will keep working until every American family has equal justice under the law.

Montgomery County Councilmember Roger Berliner (D-Bethesda-Chevy Chase) tweeted:

Today is a great day for liberty as DOMA is ruled unconstitutional by SCOTUS. Equal marriage rights apply to all #LoveIsLove

Gov. Martin O’Malley (D):

This ruling is a powerful step forward for those who live in states like Maryland. But the Court’s decisions make clear that there is still more work to do as a nation to achieve greater respect for the equal rights and human dignity of all.

As Marylanders, and as Americans, we ultimately all want the same thing for our children: to live in a loving, stable, committed home protected equally under the law.

Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler (D):

Today, by declaring Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional, the Supreme Court has moved our nation one step closer to fulfilling the Constitution’s promise of equal protection of the law. The battle for full marriage equality in this country is not yet over, as today’s Proposition 8 decision does not settle the question of whether states can discriminate against same-sex marriages. But with today’s DOMA decision, a central source of same-sex marriage discrimination has been removed.

For too long, same-sex married couples have been given second-class status by state laws and federal laws like DOMA, denying them the full equal protection of the laws that our Constitution promises. Many of us have been fighting against these unjust laws for years. When same-sex marriage was still illegal in Maryland, I worked to give same-sex married couples legally wed in other states the full measure of equality our legally married couples enjoyed. That push for equality led to calls for my impeachment, but I knew it was the right — and constitutional — thing to do. That’s why I also strongly supported our state’s later successful efforts to enact marriage equality, testifying in support of it before any other statewide elected official. And when DOMA and Proposition 8 were challenged at the Supreme Court, I did not hesitate to join fellow state Attorneys General in filing a brief calling for them to be struck down. Today is a historic moment in civil rights history, with Supreme Court decisions striking down Section 3 of DOMA as unconstitutional and dismissing the Proposition 8 appeal, letting stand a district court opinion declaring that law unconstitutional and paving the way for marriage equality in California. Now we must work together to write the next chapter – achieving marriage equality in all 50 states

Photo via Ludovic Bertron

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