Sen. John Kerry: Tauro ruling on DOMA should stand

Posted by Senator John Kerry on

"In 1996, I voted against DOMA because I believed—and still believe—that it was unconstitutional and unconscionable for Congress to actively legislate against gay Americans. I stood on the floor of the Senate to implore my colleagues to reject this bill. From the Senate floor,  I argued that this legislation was wrong, 'because not only is it meant to divide Americans, but it is fundamentally unconstitutional, regardless of your views. DOMA is unconstitutional. There is no single Member of the U.S. Senate who believes that it is within the Senate's power to strip away the word or spirit of a constitutional clause by simple statute.'

"I thought back on this last week when a United States District Court declared DOMA’s restrictions unconstitutional. Judge Tauro ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act violates Fifth Amendment protections because 'irrational prejudice plainly never constitutes a legitimate government interest.'

"We’re not just talking about a violation of the Constitution – DOMA violates our very core principles of civil rights and equal justice under the law.       

"There are 1,138 provisions in law that use marriage to determine rights and federal benefits. These include Social Security, joint parenting and adoption rights, Medicaid, tax benefits, inheritance rights, next-of-kin rights in emergency situations and with medical decisions, immigration rights, survivor benefits and many more. These thousand injustices have taken an immeasurable toll on loving, committed couples who are routinely forbidden from making hospital visits, or adopting children, or receiving survivor benefits.

... "It is widely believed that this ruling will be appealed and that it could make it all the way to the Supreme Court. For the sake of all those who have suffered under DOMA, I hope the Court upholds the decision. Congress made a horrible mistake passing DOMA in 1996, and we’ve lived with the destruction and pain it has caused for the last 14 years.  Now it’s time—long past time—to make DOMA history once and for all."

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