At a press conference today, Congresswoman Nita Lowey (D-Westchester/Rockland), White Plains Mayor Tom Roach and local LGBT advocates called on the United States Supreme Court to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which prohibits same-sex marriages from being recognized under federal law. The Supreme Court is currently hearing arguments on the law's constitutionality, as well as a case on the constitutionality of Proposition 8, California's ban on same-sex marriage.
"Equal treatment under the law is one of the bedrock principles of America. It is all too clear that with a discriminatory law like the Defense of Marriage Act on the books, we cannot uphold the principles of equality and justice. They are simply incompatible," said Congresswoman Lowey. "It is unacceptable and wrong for the government to discriminate against gay and lesbian couples, and that is what the Defense of Marriage Act does. The Defense of Marriage Act must be overturned. It is time for marriage equality in America."
"These two monumental cases before the Supreme Court are the culmination of many years, and many people, working for equality for gay and lesbian couples," said David Juhren, Executive Director of The LOFT LGBT Center in White Plains. "The strongest arguments before the Court have been, and are, the voices of the children of same-sex couples who want their parents recognized, the voices of couples together for years who have struggled to be accepted, and those young couples of today, who look to a future of equality."
"As a mother of two children - one gay and one straight -- I know they are equal, and I want them to have full equal rights in the eye of the law. They both deserve no less," said Linda Barat of the Westchester Chapter of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG). "If they choose to marry, they should both have that right and all the rights that come with it."
"For far too long, our country has denied LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) people equal access and protection under the law. The time is now for the Supreme Court of the United States to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act and live up to the concept of "liberty and justice for all'," said Joseph Coe of VCS Gay Pride Rockland. "We applaud Congresswoman Lowey's advocacy and her willingness to stand with and for Rockland's LGBT community."
Congresswoman Lowey is a cosponsor of the Respect for Marriage Act, which would repeal DOMA and provide gay and lesbian couples the same rights as heterosexual couples under federal law. She is also a cosponsor of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would ban employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, and voted in favor of ending the law known as "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."