Thrilled that SCOTUS put a ring on it, that married couples have federal recognition, that we have 13 states with marriage equality. It's heartbreaking that this comes on the heels of devastating the Voting Rights Act, I have court whiplash. We will all work together to gain that back and win equality in 50 states.
Hillary Goodridge is a plaintiff in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health
Mayor Tom Menino
Today is a great day for all of our people. Marriage equality first played out right here in Boston and like the many firsts Boston has championed it has proven to be the right path forward for a more open, inclusive America, where everyone is welcome to love, pray and believe however they choose. I am grateful for the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the Defense Against Marriage Act. It gives our many employees and residents the rights of other married couples and more importantly recognizes that their love is no different.
In the weeks and months ahead, the nation will realize what we in Boston and Massachusetts have long known: we should be free to marry the person we love. We are one Boston – a victory for our gay and lesbian friends is a victory for all of us. Today, I am proud that our highest court upheld the values and laws that underscores our belief that diversity is the great strength of our city and our country. And I am so proud of my many friends and neighbors who fought for this ruling.
Even as we celebrate today’s decision, we must remember the millions of gay and lesbian couples who still cannot get married. While there is more work to be done, today is a signal to the rest of the country that full equality is coming.
Governor Deval Patrick
By affirming the principle that people come before their government as equals, today's Supreme Court decision striking down DOMA is a win for the American people. I applaud the Court's decision on Prop 8 in California as well. Freedom includes keeping government out of people’s most personal and intimate choices, and affirming human dignity. Today's decisions do that.”
President Barack 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.
Dean T. Hara
Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional. Today’s decision means that as a gay American I finally have a seat on the bus.
Marriage equality was an abstract concept seventeen years ago when my husband, Gerry Studds, spoke on the floor of the U.S. House of Representative about how DOMA would hurt people. I never dreamed that within the next ten years I’d be able to legally marry Gerry in Massachusetts but that I’d also become a widower.
Six years ago I started my legal battle against DOMA when I asked to be treated the same as any other surviving spouse. The country has changed remarkably since then, and has come an unfathomable distance since Gerry became the first openly gay member of Congress 30 years ago this summer.
I look forward to the day when all gay and lesbian Americans across to his country can have a seat on the bus.
Dean T. Hara is the surviving spouse of the first openly gay member of Congress, Gerry E. Studds MA-D. He is a plaintiff in Gill v. Office of Personnel Management.
Mary Bonauto, GLAD
Married couples now come before the federal government as equals.
Lee Swislow, GLAD’s Executive Director
The Court has removed the stain and the insult that is DOMA,” said Lee Swislow, GLAD’s Executive Director. “This is an enormous victory and a joyous day for loving, married couples and their families – and for thousands of couples in California who will now be able to express their commitment through marriage. Today, the Supreme Court affirmed that there should be no gay exception in how the federal government regards marriage. If you are married, you are married.
Kris Mineau, President of Massachusetts Family Institute
This decision makes our Federal government complicit in the redefinition of marriage. The DOMA opinion recognizes that the federal government allows states to define marriage for themselves. For the 38 states that have protected marriage as between one woman and one man, this is good news. In addition, Justice Kennedy makes it clear that his opinion applies only where states have redefined marriage, so the impact of this ruling is expressly limited to those states.
Statement by Secretary Hagel
The Department of Defense welcomes the Supreme Court's decision today on the Defense of Marriage Act. The department will immediately begin the process of implementing the Supreme Court's decision in consultation with the Department of Justice and other executive branch agencies. The Department of Defense intends to make the same benefits available to all military spouses —regardless of sexual orientation —as soon as possible. That is now the law and it is the right thing to do.
Every person who serves our nation in uniform stepped forward with courage and commitment. All that matters is their patriotism, their willingness to serve their country, and their qualifications to do so. Today's ruling helps ensure that all men and women who serve this country can be treated fairly and equally, with the full dignity and respect they so richly deserve.
Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin
Federal recognition for lesbian and gay couples is a massive turning point for equality, but it is not enough until every family is guaranteed complete access to the protections they need regardless of state borders. The Administration must take every possible step to ensure this landmark ruling treats every lawfully-married couple across the country with the equality our Constitution guarantees.”
Attorney General Eric Holder
Today’s historic decision in the case of United States v. Windsor, declaring Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional, is an enormous triumph for equal protection under the law for all Americans. The Court’s ruling gives real meaning to the Constitution’s promise of equal protection to all members of our society, regardless of sexual orientation. This decision impacts a broad array of federal laws. At the President’s direction, the Department of Justice will work expeditiously with other Executive Branch agencies to implement the Court’s decision. Despite this momentous victory, our nation’s journey – towards equality, opportunity, and justice for everyone in this country – is far from over. Important, life-changing work remains before us. And, as we move forward in a manner consistent with the Court’s ruling, the Department of Justice is committed to continuing this work, and using every tool and legal authority available to us to combat discrimination and to safeguard the rights of all Americans.
AIDS Action Committee President & CEO Rebecca Haag
This is an historic day for America and a giant step forward for equality. By overturning Section Three of the Defense of Marriage Act, tens of thousands of legally married same-sex couples here in Massachusetts and across the country will be able to access federal rights and benefits related to marriage. One of the wide-ranging impacts of this decision will be an improvement in the health of LGBT people. Intolerance and discrimination have long been linked to health care disparities. And discrimination against LGBT people has been specifically linked to increased rates of HIV. In 2009, two economists at Emory University found that states with laws against the marriage rights of same-sex couples saw an increase in HIV diagnoses by four people per 100,000. It’s very simple: The health of the LGBT community improves when we embrace LGBT people for their full worth and dignity. Today’s decision on DOMA does just that.
MassEquality Executive Director Kara Suffredini
This is a great day for our Commonwealth and our country as we move closer to equality for all people. In Massachusetts, we've celebrated marriage equality for nine years, and we know that families are healthier and communities are stronger when everyone is treated with dignity and respect. Today's DOMA ruling does just that by affirming that all who choose to legally marry come before their government as equals. We are also excited that the Supreme Court’s decision in Prop 8 effectively restores marriage equality in California. While there is still more work to do to ensure equality and justice for all LGBTQ people, these decisions are historic steps forward, and today is a great day for America. As momentum for marriage equality continues to build, MassEquality looks forward to the day when all states can join Massachusetts in enjoying the freedom to marry.