06/26/2013

Supreme Court ruling in DOMA is victory over bigotry and discrimination; more work ahead

This is a day that will long be remembered as a milestone in our nation’s march toward equality for all people.

By striking down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) as unconstitutional, the U.S. Supreme Court has said definitively that our government can no longer deny federal benefits to married same-sex couples.

Many couples across the country, like our clients Tracey Cooper-Harris and her wife, Maggie, will no longer be treated as second-class citizens simply because of who they love.

Tracey is a decorated Army veteran who put her life on the line for our country in Kyrgyzstan and Kuwait and who now faces a serious illness related to her service. Yet, because of DOMA, the Department of Veterans Affairs said she wasn’t eligible to receive the same kind of benefits as veterans in heterosexual marriages. This law also meant the couple couldn’t be buried together in a national veterans cemetery.

Tracey simply wants the benefits she earned and deserves. Nothing more. Now, DOMA will not stand in the way.

I’m so happy for Tracey and Maggie today. And I’m so proud that our country is, at long last, turning the tide on the kind of anti-LGBT bigotry that leads to laws like DOMA. 

Every day across this nation, legally married same-sex couples build lives together. They plan their futures together. They buy homes. They raise children together. And they do it all, with the love and support of committed partners. 

Let’s celebrate this day. But we must not forget about the hard work ahead. In 37 states, committed same-sex couples still cannot marry. In many quarters, anti-LGBT bigotry is still rampant. We’re celebrating today’s victories, yet preparing for the battles ahead. With your help, we know that we’ll be successful.

Remember that we must all speak out in our communities. Your voice can make a real difference in this fight.