Congressman Tim Bishop hailed today's Supreme Court's ruling that the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional, and that legally married same-sex couples are now eligible for the recognition and benefits accorded to married couples by the federal government. The 5-4 decision has ramifications for federal tax, immigration, Social Security and Medicare, and military family policy.
"The Supreme Court has confirmed that equal protection under the law for all Americans means having the ability to marry the person you love," Bishop said. "This decision is also a victory for the families who will now be able to access the benefits and rights accorded to married partners by the federal government if they are legally married in a state."
A member of the House LGBT Caucus, Bishop has consistently supported legislation to extend equal protection under the law to same-sex couples and LGBT Americans, including legislation to repeal DOMA. Bishop is a cosponsor of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (HR 1755), which prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity, and the Student Non-Discrimination Act (HR 1652), which Prohibits public school students from being excluded from participating in, or subject to discrimination under, any federally-assisted educational program on the basis of their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity or that of their associates.
Bishop also strongly opposed the decision by House Speaker John Boehner to defend DOMA in court at taxpayer expense, with $3.2 million spent on the failed defense of the law, passed in 1996. In October 2012, Bishop joined 144 of his House colleagues in filing an amicus brief on behalf of Edie Windsor, who was the plaintiff in the case decided by the court today. Windsor was legally married to her spouse Thea Spyer, but when Spyer died in 2009, the federal government refused to recognize their marriage and taxed Edie's inheritance as though they were strangers.
Bishop said that the decision is an important milestone in the ongoing struggle to eradicate discrimination from federal law.
"America is a more just and more pro-family nation as a result of this ruling," Bishop said.