National Reactions to DOMA & Prop 8 Decisions – Updated

E. Denisse Simmons

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The Supreme Court of the United States has spoken. The people and our LGBT leaders and allies are now speaking back. Their reactions below show what these decisions mean to them. Please stay tuned as more reactions continue to come in and to The Rainbow Times’ updated story on this double victory.

E. Denisse Simmons

E. Denisse Simmons

“Today, the nation took another huge step forward in the march to grant equal civil rights and liberties to all its citizens. Seeing DOMA struck down is right, it is just, and it is long overdue. Untold numbers of families across the United States are going to be feeling the impact of this decision for days, weeks, and generations to come. I could not be more pleased with this outcome.” —E. Denise Simmons, Vice Mayor of Cambridge

“This is a truly historic victory and a momentous day for our client Edie Windsor and for loving, married same-sex couples and their families here in Massachusetts and across the country. With today’s ruling the Supreme Court strikes down the core of the Defense of Marriage Act recognizing that it is discriminatory for our federal government to treat legally married gay couples in our Commonwealth and across the country any differently than it treats legally married heterosexual couples.

This is a tremendous step forward. The ACLU brought this case because there are more than 1100 places in federal laws and programs where being married makes a difference—from eligibility for family medical leave, to Social Security survivor’s benefits, to access to health care for a spouse. Today’s decision will make a huge difference in the lives of thousands of legally married gay couples in Massachusetts and elsewhere. Married same-sex couples should now be eligible for these benefits and protections.

DOMA is the last federal law on the books that mandates discrimination against gay people by the federal government simply because they are gay, and today’s decision takes down its core. It’s a great day for equality and the beginning of the end of official discrimination against lesbians and gay men.” —ACLU of Massachusetts Executive Director Carol Rose

“Today SCOTUS made history. Not only is it my birthday but now my marriage to my wife is recognized on a federal level. I was

Jenn T. Grace  Photo: Cynthia Lang Photography

Jenn T. Grace
Photo: Cynthia Lang Photography

fortunate enough to be among the 278 employers to sign on to the Amicus Brief for DOMA back in March. I am so proud to be an LGBT American. As great as it feels to have full marriage equality, there’s much more work to be done for marriage equality in states that don’t yet recognize it. We are a strong community that I am so proud to be a part of today.” —Jenn T. Grace, Entrepreneu, Marketing Guru

“Today, the Supreme Court affirmed that there should be no gay exception in how the federal government regards marriage.  If you are married, you are married. Married couples now come before the federal government as equals.” —Mary Bonauto, Civil Rights Project Director for GLAD, and lead counsel in the 2003 Massachusetts case Goodridge v. Department of Public Health, of the Court’s ruling against DOMA.

“Today’s Supreme Court decision holding unconstitutional the so-called Defense of Marriage Act is an important step forward in providing Americans with greater equality and dignity.  It is also an important victory in ensuring that all workers and their families have some measure of economic security.  With every paycheck, married couples earn valuable Social Security spousal and survivor benefits.  Now, married couples that are the same gender will not be denied the Social Security benefits they have earned for each other.”  —Nancy Altman, Co-Chair of the Strengthen Social Security Campaign

Rebecca Haag  Photo: Marilyn Humphries

Rebecca Haag
Photo: Marilyn Humphries

“This is an historic day for America and a giant step forward for equality. By overturning Section Three of the Defense of Marriage Act, tens of thousands of legally married same-sex couples here in Massachusetts and across the country will be able to access federal rights and benefits related to marriage. One of the wide-ranging impacts of this decision will be an improvement in the health of LGBT people. Intolerance and discrimination have long been linked to health care disparities. And discrimination against LGBT people has been specifically linked to increased rates of HIV. In 2009, two economists at Emory University found that states with laws against the marriage rights of same-sex couples saw an increase in HIV diagnoses by four people per 100,000. It’s very simple: The health of the LGBT community improves when we embrace LGBT people for their full worth and dignity. Today’s decision on DOMA does just that.” —AIDS Action Committee President & CEO Rebecca Haag

“Today the nation took another historic step towards creating a more perfect union. This is a watershed moment for equality and a clear statement from the highest court in the land that discrimination and hatred have no place in a country founded on the principles of liberty, justice and equality. The judiciary has now caught up with the American public and the tremendous momentum our movement has had since the passage of Prop. 8 five years ago. Love should not be legislated or litigated. We hope today’s rulings settle this issue once and for all as we celebrate loving couples marrying in California and across the country in the coming weeks, months and years.” —Rick Jacobs, Founder and Chair of the CourageCampaign.org, a leading California-based progressive organization

Allison Francis

Allison Francis

“I’m so excited for the same-sex couples who now have better access to healthcare, social security and retirement benefits, and having their relationship formally acknowledged by the state. Striking down DOMA is important progress, and I hope this victory propels gay and lesbian communities to work toward obtaining access to affordable healthcare and security for everyone, including immigrants, youth, and non-married people.” —Allison Francis, artist-activist and writer

“As the only openly gay leader of a national black civil rights organization and as someone who has spent a large majority of my career working for gay and transgender equality, I applaud the United States Supreme Court decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act and extend federal benefits to same sex couples and declare Prop 8 unconstitutional. Not only because of what it means to me personally, but more importantly because of the message that it sends to the youth of our country, the opportunities that it opens for thousands of loving and committed couples and their families, and the hope it provides to all of those working in civil rights.  Even in the midst of major setbacks, we still have moments of significant progress.” —Rashad Robinson, Executive Director of ColorOfChange.org

Adrian Budhu

Adrian Budhu

“I’ve been trying to write a philosophical and hard hitting response regarding the SCOTUS’ decisions about DOMA and Prop 8. But I quickly realized it’s already been said numerous times. The most authentic response I can give to you is about what it means to me. I feel included and equal. At the end of the day, I think we all want to feel this way and today’s decision is making that happen for a lot of people. It’s a great feeling and a step in the right direction.” —Adrian Budhu, Managing Director, The Theater Offensive

“This is not a liberal decision from the SJC but instead a decision based in Equality for all of us. My same sex marriage to a federal employee is NOW equal to those of his colleagues.  This is a decision that confirms that Love is Love…. ¡Amor es Amor no importa si estas casado con otro hombre o mujer! ¡Para la comunidad en California, victoria y recuerden que Amor es Amor! El voto de Prop 8 fue illegal!  Let’s continue our work towards Marriage Equality in ALL of our country!” —Wilfred Labiosa, Boston, Mass.

Kara Suffredini  Photo by: MassEquality

Kara Suffredini Photo by: MassEquality

“This is a great day for our Commonwealth and our country as we move closer to equality for all people. In Massachusetts, we’ve celebrated marriage equality for nine years, and we know that families are healthier and communities are stronger when everyone is treated with dignity and respect. Today’s DOMA ruling does just that by affirming that all who choose to legally marry come before their government as equals. We are also excited that the Supreme Court’s decision in Prop 8 effectively restores marriage equality in California. While there is still more work to do to ensure equality and justice for all LGBTQ people, these decisions are historic steps forward, and today is a great day for America. As momentum for marriage equality continues to build, MassEquality looks forward to the day when all states can join Massachusetts in enjoying the freedom to marry. ” —MassEquality Executive Director, Kara Suffredini

Bitch, the Musician  Photo: Crayola England

Bitch, the Musician
Photo: Crayola England

“I am thrilled that the Supreme Court has acknowledged that marriage is about love and commitment, not gender.  LONG LIVE LOVE!” —Musician Bitch, from The L Word

“First and foremost with regards to the end of DOMA we must recognize the ever important to recognize Eddie Windsor, a lesbian, a woman, an most importantly a wife. The  amount of courage and strength she has shown.  With regards to the Supreme Court deferring to the lower court’s ruling on Proposition 8, this narrow victory is still a victory for our movement,  it will allow marriage equality in the great state of California to resume.

I am elated to know that all individuals of the LGBT community who are allowed to marry by their states will have the same 1,138 benefits equally from the federal government as their heterosexual counterparts.  As a citizens in the pioneering Massachusetts, I am proud to know that I can marry and my marriage will be recognized by the federal government.  This is a historic day for our community. I do offer a cautionary enthusiasm everyone that although this is a victory in the battle the war still wages on, in two fronts;

1. We must remember and continue to fight for discrimination rights, and protections for members of our Transgender community.

Nelson Roman  Photo: Nelson Roman

Nelson Roman
Photo: Nelson Roman

2. We must continue to ensure equal rights, equal marriage rights are offered in the entire United States of America.” —Nelson Rafael Roman, Board President, Imperial Court of Western Mass Inc. 

“It has been 15 years since my marriage was invalidated as a same sex marriage in Georgia. Because of the marriage invalidation I spent 4 years in prison for possession of a family automobile. Because I fought back on a State and Federal level I can now reopen my Federal lawsuit and fight the Georgia Doma law as unconstitutional based on today’s decision. Most gay and lesbian persons are not aware that there have been a number of transgender marriages invalidated as same sex marriages to deprive them of their legal rights. I am thrilled for all of my gay, lesbian, and transgender friends who will now receive all of the benefits available they so rightly deserve. Today’s decisions are a major victory for our entire community and our country!” —Erica Kay-Webster, Stonewall Veteran & Civil Rights Activist

Coco Alinsug

Coco Alinsug

“My partner of 12 years Peter and I we’re jumping, hugging and crying the moment we heard the news.” —Coco Alinsug, Executive Director, NAGLY and Commissioner, Massachusetts Commission on GLBT Youth

“After the poor decision on the Voting Rights Act the day before, the Supreme court came through on DOMA and Prop 8. It’s a momentous day for couples and families all across America – to be recognized at the federal level and be able to enjoy the same benefits as all married couples. Equal justice under the law! Now we need to get the other 38 states on board. Let’s go!” —From the folks at the UMass FAC, Amherst, Mass.

“Today’s Supreme Court decision finding the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional is a victory for equality, which is a core belief of this administration. It is also a victory for families, especially those children whose parents’ legal same sex marriages can now be recognized under federal law. As a result of today’s ruling, the federal government is no longer forced to discriminate against legally married same sex couples. The Supreme Court’s decision on DOMA reaffirms the core belief that we are all created equal and must be treated as equal. The Department of Health and Human Services will work with the Department of Justice to review all relevant federal statutes and ensure this decision is implemented swiftly and smoothly.” Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius 

“The Boston Hispanic Black Gay Coalition affirms and supports the diverse needs of the Black and Latino/a Community. This historic day, in a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court of the United States has just ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional. In addition, U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for marriage equality in California but did not rule on whether or not there is a constitutional right to same-sex marriage, by saying the petitioners lack the standing to appeal the original district court ruling. Marriage is one of the many important issues to our community and while we celebrate this victory, we cannot ignore the rulings on Voting Rights and Affirmative Action. Many of us were also deeply affected by the intense media surrounding the Texas Abortion Bill. What will these rulings and media representations mean for communities of color, including our immigrant and undocumented community members? We continue to stand in solidarity with these issues by empowering and inspiring LGBTQ Black and Latino/a communities through our programs, services, activism, and community outreach. We will continue to advocate for our community and believe strongly in the power of collectivity.

Our community will never be a single-issue community. We are a community of multiple identities and all of our identities must be affirmed as we continue to work for justice and solidarity with others. The Boston Hispanic Black Gay Coalition urges that our community continue to lean on each other for strength by celebrating love and demanding justice and equality for all. And we urge our allies to work with us on this most important goal.” —Hispanic Black Gay Coalition Executive Director, Corey Yarbrough

Keri Aulita

Keri Aulita

“As a woman who lives in the great state of Massachusetts and  who just got engaged, seeing the end of DOMA makes me very happy. On the other hand, I remain cautiously optimistic because the ruling only affects people in states where marriage equality exists, so we still have a ways to go before all LGBT people can reap their just rewards. I also urge out community to remember that marriage equality doesn’t equal LGBT equality in total. It’s just one piece of a complex puzzle that still has many pieces missing … Trans rights, ending LGBT youth homelessness, bi-phobia … and the list doesn’t end there, so we must all continue to push forward. Yesterday, was another nice milestone though and we should be very proud!” —Keri Aulita, Real Estate Agent
William Raveis Real Estate, Brookline

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