Nevada Senator Harry Reid today issued the following statement after filing an amicus brief with the United States Supreme Court arguing that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional. Section 3 of DOMA prohibits the federal government from recognizing for purposes of federal law same-sex marriages performed in states where such marriages have been legally recognized. Forty members of the U.S. Senate and 172 members of the U.S. House of Representatives signed the brief:
"Because of DOMA, gay and lesbian married couples are denied more than 1,100 federal rights and benefits to which all other legally married couples are entitled; that is neither fair, nor right. Today, I filed an amicus brief with the United States Supreme Court to make clear my belief that Section 3 of DOMA discriminates against gay and lesbian married couples and should be struck down as a violation of the U.S. Constitution's guarantee of equal protection under the law.
"Since the enactment of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in 1996, the attitudes of many Americans, including me, have changed significantly. When Congress enacted DOMA, no state had legalized same-sex marriage. Now, gay and lesbian couples can legally marry in nine states and the District of Columbia. This is progress in the truest sense of the word, and repealing DOMA is the next step we need to take towards providing true equality to all Americans under the law."