Milestone For LGBT Equality: Prop. 8, DOMA Will Have Their Day In Court

Supreme Court To Hear Constitutional Challenges To Discriminatory Marriage Laws

BTL Staff Report

Washington - The Supreme Court announced on Friday, Dec. 7 that it will hear the Hollingsworth v. Perry case challenging California's Prop. 8 and the Windsor challenge to the discriminatory ban on federal recognition of married same-sex couples known as the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

"Today is a milestone day for equal justice under the law and for millions of loving couples who want to make a lifelong commitment through marriage," said Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin in a released statemnt. "The passage of Proposition 8 caused heartbreak for so many Americans, but today's announcement gives hope that we will see a landmark Supreme Court ruling for marriage this term. As the Court has ruled 14 times in the past, marriage is a fundamental right and I believe they will side with liberty, freedom and equality, moving us toward a more perfect union as they have done in the past.

"By agreeing to hear a case against the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, the Court can now move swiftly to affirm what 10 federal rulings have already said: DOMA's 'gay exception' to how the federal government treats married couples violates the Constitution and must fall," said Evan Wolfson, founder and president of Freedom to Marry, in a released statement. "When it comes to the whole federal safety net that accompanies marriage - access to Social Security survivorship, health coverage, family leave, fair tax treatment, family immigration, and over 1000 other protections and responsibilities - couples who are legally married in the states should be treated by the federal government as what they are: married."

The Supreme Court could address same-sex marriage narrowly or broadly with its upcoming decision. Should the court choose to address the broader question of same-sex marriage by overturning DOMA, the federal government would recognize all legal marriages regardless of state law.

Polls indicate that public opinion is increasingly in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage. Currently nine states have legalized same-sex marriage.

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