Today, Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL) issued the following statement as the Supreme Court hears oral arguments over the next two days in the case of Hollingsworth v. Perry, which challenges California's Proposition 8, and the case of United States v. Windsor, which challenges the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA):
"The fundamental rights of lesbian and gay Americans have been denied for far too long in this country. I am encouraged that the Supreme Court of the United States will hear oral arguments challenging the constitutionality of two measures that continue to deny equal rights to tens of thousands of committed same-sex couples. Proposition 8 and DOMA serve only to codify discrimination in our laws and perpetuate the prejudiced notion that lesbians and gays are to be treated differently than everyone else. The fact of the matter is that they prevent same-sex couples from having the same critical rights, benefits, and protections that heterosexual couples receive through marriage.
"Rightfully, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down Proposition 8 as unconstitutional in 2012, upholding a 2010 District Court ruling in the Northern District of California. In addition, four federal district courts and two appeals courts have ruled against DOMA, which the U.S. Department of Justice has ceased to defend in court since 2011. Recent polls also show that a majority of Americans and the vast majority of young people support same-sex marriage.
"It is clear that both Proposition 8 and DOMA lack constitutional authority and must be overturned. At this momentous time in our nation's history, I am hopeful that the Supreme Court will ultimately recognize the equal rights of same-sex couples. Likewise, I will continue working tirelessly with my colleagues in Congress to achieve nothing less than full equality for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. It is simply the right thing to do."