The House LGBT Equality Caucus today applauded the Supreme Court for deciding to hear a challenge to DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996 that bans the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages.
Congressman Jerrold Nadler, Congressman Barney Frank, Congresswoman and Senator-elect Tammy Baldwin, Congressman Jared Polis, Congressman David Cicilline, and Congressman John Conyers, all member of the LGBT Equality caucus, announced via a joint statement they “welcome the Supreme Court’s decision to review DOMA and ensure that Congress affords all families equal treatment under the law.”
“Congress failed this fundamental obligation when it hastily passed DOMA in 1996 and foreclosed federal recognition for married same-sex couples before gay men or lesbians could marry anywhere in the world,” the six House members stated. “We have long argued that no legitimate federal interest is served by depriving loving, committed same-sex couples the same security that we provide others. We are hopeful that the Supreme Court will affirm the decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit that DOMA is unconstitutional and must be struck down.”
In September, the six Members of Congress joined Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, with the support of 137 other House Members, in filing an amicus brief in the court of appeals in Edith Schlain Windsor v. United States of America, voicing their opposition to arguments being made by House Republican Leadership, who have hired outside lawyers and already committed $1.5 million taxpayer dollars to defending DOMA in court. Their amicus brief makes it clear that the House is not united on DOMA’s validity, that the lawyers arguing on behalf of House Republican Leadership do not speak for the entire institution, and that there is no legitimate federal interest in denying married same-sex couples the legal security, rights and responsibilities that federal law provides to couples who are married under state law. Section 3 of DOMA does not affect married heterosexual couples and their children, who are recognized regardless of DOMA. And this law affirmatively harms married gay and lesbian couples and their children. Nadler and the main sponsors of the amicus briefs filed to date intend to participate in the Supreme Court’s consideration of the Windsor case.
We invite you to sign up for our new mailing list, and subscribe to The New Civil Rights Movement via email or RSS.