Two rulings today from the Supreme Court will be celebrated by supporters of gay marriage. First, the court struck down a provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, and ruled that legally-married same-sex couples should get the same federal benefits as heterosexual couples. The court also cleared the way for same-sex marriage in California. The justices ruled that opponents of gay marriage didn't have the right to appeal lower court rulings that struck down a ban on same-sex unions.
Gay rights supporters who were gathered outside the Supreme Court have been cheering the news that the high court struck down part of a law denying gay marriage partners the same federal benefits enjoyed by heterosexual couples
. One woman who married a same-sex partner in Massachusetts in 2011 said she was "in shock" over the ruling in favor of married gays. A large crowd was in place outside the court, awaiting the ruling in that case and the one on California's same-sex marriage ban.
Oregon's Senator Jeff Merkley released the following statement after the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) as unconstitutional.
"This Supreme Court decision that the federal government must recognize all marriages is a huge stride forward for equality and fairness. No one should be denied equal rights because of whom they love and discrimination has no place in our laws."
Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) today released the following statement regarding the Supreme Court's decisions in Hollingsworth v. Perry and United States v. Windsor.
"The decisions striking down the Defense of Marriage Act and leaving in place the District Court's ruling against California's Proposition 8 represent a historic moment for America and another leap toward equal rights for all Americans regardless of sexual orientation. As a nation, we have finally arrived at the obvious conclusion that the validity of a marriage is not subject to popular vote, but instead guaranteed as a matter of right. Love has replaced hate as the governing factor in the decision of same sex couples to marry."
Oregon Labor and Industries Commissioner Brad Avakian today praised the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act and the opportunity it presents for Oregonians:
"Earlier this morning, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned DOMA, affirming that all caring, committed couples who marry deserve equal treatment under law. Our country is changing – and the decision today represents an important step in that larger journey of understanding. Oregonians are fundamentally fair; we treat others as we want to be treated ourselves. And with today's ruling, it's clear that as a state, we control our own destiny and now have the chance to have our laws match our highest ideals. That unfinished business is strengthened by conversations taking place in living rooms and coffee shops around the state as more Oregonians open their hearts to civil marriage for all loving, same-sex couples."