Voice for Equality: Martha Coakley

Martha Coakley is the first female Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (elected in 2006) and a candidate in the special election to fill the seat in the United States Senate made vacant by the death of Senator Ted Kennedy. Prior to serving as Attorney General, she was District Attorney of Middlesex County, Massachusetts from 1999 to 2007. She joined the DA's office in 1986 as an Assistant District Attorney in the Lowell, Massachusetts District Court office. A year later, she was invited by the U.S. Justice Department to join its Boston Organized Crime Strike Force as a Special Attorney. Coakley returned to the District Attorney’s Office in 1989 and was appointed the Chief of the Child Abuse Prosecution Unit two years later, where she served until assuming her District Attorney of Middlesex County position. Learn more here.

On July 8, 2009, Attorney General Martha Coakley filed a suit, Commonwealth v. United States Department of Health and Human Services, challenging the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act. Massachusetts is the first state to challenge the legislation. In filing the suit, Ms. Coakley stated:
Today, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts takes an important step toward ensuring equality and fairness for its citizens and maintaining our authority as a sovereign state. DOMA affects residents of Massachusetts in very real and very negative ways by depriving access to important economic safety nets and other protections that couples count on when they marry and that help them to take care of one another and their families. DOMA also directly and fundamentally interferes with Massachusetts’s right as a state sovereign to determine the marital status of its residents. [Link]
Then, on September 25, 2009, Coakley sent a letter to members of Congress expressing her strong support for HB 3567, the Respect for Marriage Act, which seeks to repeal the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Among her comments:
I applaud the legislative efforts to take direct action to repeal DOMA and fully support this bill because it addresses the failings of the law head-on. DOMA is an unconstitutional, unprecedented, discriminatory and damaging law that does great harm to families by denying them access to critical rights and protections and important economic safety nets. [Link]
Freedom to Marry salutes Martha Coakley as a Voice for Equality!

If you're inspired by Ms. Coakley's efforts on behalf of marriage equality...take action! Link to No on 1/Protect Maine Equality to find out how you can help with the vital work of preserving marriage equality in Maine!

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