Supreme Court Strikes Down Central Part of DOMA, Dismisses Prop 8 Case on Standing


An end to federal 'gay exception,' and a return of freedom to marry in CA

Press Contacts:

Nicole Collins Bronzan
Communications Director, Freedom to Marry

Angela Dallara
Communications Associate, Freedom to Marry

Washington, DC — The U.S. Supreme Court struck down a central part of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act today, ruling that DOMA’s Section 3, which denies legally married same-sex couples the federal protections and responsibilities triggered by marriage, violates the equal protection clause of the Constitution.

In a separate case, the court ruled that the sponsors of Proposition 8, which stripped same-sex couples of the right to marry, had no legitimate interest in prosecuting an appeal over the objections of state officials. The decision means that the trial court ruling striking down the law stands, restoring the freedom to marry in California.

Evan Wolfson, founder and president of Freedom to Marry, issued the following statement:

“The Supreme Court has issued two rulings for freedom and fairness today. Striking down the heart of DOMA, the justices have affirmed that all married couples are equal, ending the ‘gay exception’ that relegated same-sex couples to second-class status for too long. Married couples – gay or non-gay – should be treated as what they are: married. And the ruling on Prop 8 ends marriage discrimination in California, meaning that nearly a third of Americans now live in a state with the freedom to marry. 

“This is truly a day of celebration for loving and committed same-sex couples and their families – and for all of us who believe in the American journey to equality under the law and the pursuit of happiness, with liberty and justice for all. The Supreme Court’s mortal blow to DOMA puts the moral weight of the federal government on the side of all Americans who seek to share in the freedom to marry and all its protections and responsibilities.

“And with California now joining 12 other states as engines moving the country forward, Freedom to Marry will continue working our winning strategy: winning more states, fully overturning DOMA to end federal marriage discrimination, and continuing to grow the national majority for marriage. Before long we will be ready to go back before the Supreme Court and win the freedom to marry nationwide.”

The court’s decision on DOMA removes the discriminatory federal law that denied married same-sex couples more than 1,100 protections and responsibilities automatically afforded to other married couples, including Social Security survivor benefits, access to health care and family leave, the ability to pool resources without adverse tax treatment, parenting rights, and familial status for immigration purposes.   Freedom to Marry will work to ensure smooth implementation of the constitutional command of equal respect and protection across all federal programs.

Freedom to Marry is the campaign to win marriage nationwide. We are pursuing our Roadmap to Victory by working to win the freedom to marry in more states, grow the national majority for marriage, and end federal marriage discrimination. We partner with individuals and organizations across the country to end the exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage and the protections, responsibilities, and commitment that marriage brings.