In a highly-anticipated announcement, the U.S. Supreme Court today released their decision on United States v. Windsor, a case which challenged the constitutionality of Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). In a 5-4 decision written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, the Court held that "DOMA is unconstitutional as a deprivation of the equal liberty of the person that is protected by the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution." Congresswoman Betty McCollum (D-MN) responded to the Supreme Court's decision with an official statement:
"Today is a victory for love and equality over blatant discrimination. This ruling will afford legally married same-sex spouses all of the federal rights and benefits afforded to opposite-sex married couples. For same-sex couples who will soon be married in Minnesota, this decision is a victory for equality. Still, I am reminded that there is more work to do to guarantee all LGBT Americans equal rights and full marriage equality in all 50 states."
"I wish to congratulate all of the LGBT Americans who will finally have access to the federal recognition they deserve under this historic and just ruling."
DOMA, enacted in September of 1996, prohibited federal recognition of same-sex unions, and in effect, denied same-sex couples the federal marriage benefits to which opposite-sex couples are entitled. Under DOMA, the average same-sex couple was denied access to more than a thousand federal benefits and protections over their lifetime in marriage. Today's Supreme Court decision will restore the equality under federal law of all state recognized marriages.