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Statement from Governor Lincoln Chafee on the U.S. Supreme Court's Decision Striking Down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)


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All those who value the American ideals of tolerance, fairness, respect for diversity, and equal protection under the law should be heartened by this morning's historic decision, which struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

For the nearly two decades that DOMA was the law of the land in our country, discrimination and unequal treatment were, regrettably, given legal legitimacy. Today's decision, therefore, is a meaningful, positive development in the long and ongoing story of the United States as the freest country on earth.

I am pleased that we were recently able to secure passage of marriage equality here in Rhode Island, and the Supreme Court's decision today will extend federal benefits and protections to same-sex Rhode Island couples who choose to marry.

As I have said before, public opinion is rapidly evolving on this issue, and laws at the local, state, and federal level increasingly reflect that evolution. I am confident that the push for equality will continue to grow stronger in state houses, court houses, and polling places in every state in America. But today's decision, in the highest court in the land, is a significant victory and no small step forward for our country.

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