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Hastings Hails Supreme Court Decisions on DOMA and Proposition 8


Location: Washington, DC

Today, Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL) made the following statement on the Supreme Court's decisions in the case of United States v. Windsor, which challenges the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), and the case of Hollingsworth v. Perry, which challenges California's Proposition 8:

"It is indeed an historic day for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) equality in this country. This morning, the Supreme Court announced in a 5-4 decision that DOMA is unconstitutional as a deprivation of the equal liberty of persons that is protected by the Fifth Amendment. In the Opinion of the Court, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote, "The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and to injure those whom the State, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity.'

"Furthermore, in a 5-4 decision, Chief Justice John Roberts of the Supreme Court announced that, "because petitioners have not satisfied their burden to demonstrate standing to appeal the judgment of the District Court, the Ninth Circuit was without jurisdiction to consider the appeal.' This means that the proponents of Proposition 8 do not have the legal right to defend the ban in court and that the case will be sent back with instructions for dismissal, allowing the State of California to resume marrying gay and lesbian couples.

"The Supreme Court decisions regarding DOMA and Proposition 8 serve as a testament to our nation's enduring commitment to justice and fairness for all. As a result of today's decisions, devoted gay and lesbian couples living in marriage equality states across the country will have greater certainty in being able to provide for themselves and their families, from being able to receive Social Security benefits and spousal medical coverage to family leave and pension benefits. In addition, approximately one-third of Americans now live in a jurisdiction that recognizes and protects the rights of all married individuals, regardless of whom they love.

"I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Edie Windsor and the plaintiffs of Proposition 8, as well as activists for equality everywhere, on these tremendous victories. This day would not be possible without them. Their example of courage is truly inspiring, and proof that love conquers hate.

"Just as the discriminatory law known as "Don't Ask, Don't Tell' was ultimately repealed in 2011, DOMA and Proposition 8 were destined to fail. However, it is important to remember that our work is far from over. While these landmark decisions mean the end of DOMA and Proposition 8, there is still no guarantee that the marriage of a gay or lesbian couple will be recognized if they move from one state to another. As a proud original co-sponsor of the Respect for Marriage Act, I will continue working with my colleagues in Congress to ensure that the rights of legally married gay and lesbian couples are protected no matter where they choose to live.

"As we celebrate today's news, I am reminded of the extraordinary progress that we have made in recent years to advance LGBT equality in this country. More Americans than ever before now agree that, when it comes to marriage, the strength of a couple's devotion is more important than their gender. It is my sincere hope that every state in our great nation will soon come to this same realization."

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