Supreme Court Strikes Down DOMA

9:08 AM, Jun 26, 2013   |    comments
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WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- The Supreme Court has struck down the  federal provision denying benefits to legally married gay couples on Wednesday morning. Supporters of same-sex marriage cheered after the decision.

SCOTUS found the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional as a deprivation of the equal liberty of persons in a 5-4 ruling.

Read the opinion for DOMA at the PDF link.

The Defense of Marriage Act was signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1996, and aimed to preserve the legal definition of marriage as between a man and a woman.

President Obama issued the following statement on Wednesday:

"I applaud the Supreme Court's decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act. This was discrimination enshrined in law. It treated loving, committed gay and lesbian couples as a separate and lesser class of people. The Supreme Court has righted that wrong, and our country is better off for it. We are a people who declared that we are all created equal - and the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.

This ruling is a victory for couples who have long fought for equal treatment under the law; for children whose parents' marriages will now be recognized, rightly, as legitimate; for families that, at long last, will get the respect and protection they deserve; and for friends and supporters who have wanted nothing more than to see their loved ones treated fairly and have worked hard to persuade their nation to change for the better.

So we welcome today's decision, and I've directed the Attorney General to work with other members of my Cabinet to review all relevant federal statutes to ensure this decision, including its implications for Federal benefits and obligations, is implemented swiftly and smoothly.

On an issue as sensitive as this, knowing that Americans hold a wide range of views based on deeply held beliefs, maintaining our nation's commitment to religious freedom is also vital. How religious institutions define and consecrate marriage has always been up to those institutions. Nothing about this decision - which applies only to civil marriages - changes that.

The laws of our land are catching up to the fundamental truth that millions of Americans hold in our hearts: when all Americans are treated as equal, no matter who they are or whom they love, we are all more free."

In DC, The Very Rev. Gary Hall, dean of Washington National Cathedral, issued a statement about the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and allow same-sex marriage to resume in California rulings:

"Today's rulings announce a new era for our country, one in which married lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans can finally enjoy the same federal recognition and protection that our laws have for so long extended to their fellow citizens. I rejoice in the knowledge that the justices have reached a decision that makes our union-indeed all our unions-more perfect and certainly more equal....

"We are ringing our bells at the Cathedral to celebrate the extension of federal marriage equality to all the same-sex couples modeling God's love in lifelong covenants. Our prayers for continued happiness are with them and with all couples who will be joined in matrimony in the years to come, whether at Washington National Cathedral or elsewhere.

"Today's rulings advance civil marriage equality, but they should also serve as a call for Christians to embrace religious marriage equality. Countless faithful Christians have lived out their lives in committed same-sex relationships, and we have seen the fruits of their fidelity in our families, our congregations and our communities. If we use this historic moment to see more clearly how their faithfulness contributes to the common good, we will better be able to walk with our LGBT sisters and brothers as an act of Christian faith." 

At noon, the Washington Ringing Society will attempt a quarter peal of the Cathedral's bells. Dean Hall also invites all LGBT couples and families to attend a special service at 7 p.m. Faith leaders will speak out in support of marriage equality at a press conference before the prayer service at 5 p.m.

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