US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel
"The Department of Defense welcomes the Supreme Court's decision today on the Defense of Marriage Act. The department will immediately begin the process of implementing the Supreme Court's decision in consultation with the Department of Justice and other executive branch agencies. The Department of Defense intends to make the same benefits available to all military spouses -- regardless of sexual orientation -- as soon as possible. That is now the law and it is the right thing to do.
"Every person who serves our nation in uniform stepped forward with courage and commitment. All that matters is their patriotism, their willingness to serve their country, and their qualifications to do so. Today's ruling helps ensure that all men and women who serve this country can be treated fairly and equally, with the full dignity and respect they so richly deserve."
NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous
"Less than five decades ago, my parent's interracial marriage was deemed illegal until Mildred & Richard Loving and the NAACP stood before the Supreme Court to demand that they be treated equally," stated NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Todd Jealous. "Today, the principles that led to the victory for the Lovings and my parents are reaffirmed by the Court's historic decision. These decisions bring our nation closer to achieving the equality under the law that the NAACP has fought for since our founding. "
Soulforce Executive Director Rev. Dr. Cindi Love
"The driving force behind the denial of marriage equality for same-sex relationships has always been misused religious belief. Today the Supreme Court said that individuals and their religious beliefs cannot prevail over the state in its responsibility to protect and defend the rights of its citizens."
"Today is not the end of the struggle. It is really just the beginning of a new wave of advocacy that brings to light discrimination that uses history, tradition, or religion to justify bigotry and stigma. Our resistance to these forms of discrimination must be relentless if we are to create and sustain a world where all can flourish and live out their full potential."
Libertarian Party of Indiana State Chairman Dan Drexler
"Today's decision by the U.S. Supreme Court is clearly an historic move toward marriage equality consistent with the long-held libertarian belief that government does not have the authority to define, license or restrict personal relationships. Consenting adults should be free to choose their own sexual practices and personal relationships."
"We encourage Republican leaders in the Indiana Statehouse to heed this ruling and abandon their ongoing efforts to build discrimination into Indiana's own state constitution in this year's legislative session."
Emily Eastwood, Executive Director of ReconcilingWorks: Lutherans for Full Participation
"We as Christians consider people of all sexual orientations and gender identities worthy of dignity and respect. As people of faith, we believe that with dignity and respect should come the freedom to marry and equal protection under the law. We celebrate today's decisions."
Cecile Richards, President of Planned Parenthood Federation Of America
"These are historic rulings for equality. Reproductive rights are deeply connected to civil rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. We have long stood with LGBT people - many of whom turn to Planned Parenthood for health care, information, and education - in the fight for full equality. "This country is seeing extraordinary progress on marriage equality, rooted in principles that underlie the work Planned Parenthood does every day: that politicians should not get to decide what your family looks like, and that rights in this country should not depend on the state where you live. Today, we celebrate these rulings and commit to ensuring that all LGBT people are safe, supported, and respected."
Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants
The world was righted a bit today... at least in our book. Today's Supreme Court ruling is truly a reason to celebrate and we're grinning from ear to ear! For over 30 years, we've stood strong beside our LGBT guests and employees, and we are proud our country is taking this next step towards a brighter and more equal future.
L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center CEO Lorri L. Jean
"A grievous wrong has finally been righted. Justice has prevailed and the freedom to marry for California's same-sex couples has been restored. Now no one can take it from us!"
San Francisco Travel Association President Joe D'Alessandro
"San Francisco is where marriage equality began in 2004 and, through the legal ups and downs, we have been a beloved location for weddings, commitment ceremonies and honeymoons ever since. San Francisco looks forward to hosting weddings and celebrations for all loving couples. There is no city more romantic than ours. People from all over the world recognize the values that we have always stood for and today's decision confirms those so-called 'San Francisco values' of understanding and acceptance. We hope some of those couples who were married here in 2004 will come back soon for their 10th anniversary and we look forward to welcoming many more."
Marcia D. Greenberger, Co-President of the National Women's Law Center
"Today's victory was a profound one. DOMA's refusal to recognize same-sex marriages reflected and enforced gender stereotypes about men's and women's roles in marriage. The Supreme Court has repeatedly struck down laws enforcing overly broad gender stereotypes because they arbitrarily limit individuals' most personal choices about their own lives. Today, in finding that DOMA had no legitimate purpose in disfavoring same-sex marriages, the Court continues that proud tradition. Moreover, while the Court did not rule on the constitutionality of Proposition 8, its decision leaves the district court's decision finding Proposition 8 unconstitutional the final word in this case, meaning that this is also a victory for Californians. Today is a day for celebration."
Darren Phelps, Executive Director Pride At Work
For LGBT workers, the DOMA decision means that married couples must be treated as married in accordance with the laws in their state. Marriage equality is about treating all couples with respect, but it also has major financial and legal impacts that will allow more same-sex couples to more effectively support their families.
We will continue efforts to win marriage equality in more states, but there are also vital issues remaining for the LGBT community - our lives are about more than marriage. This has been a monumental week, from yesterday's evisceration of the voting rights act to today's phenomenal action striking down DOMA. All of our communities must and will continue working together for the rights of all people, be it voting rights, marriage equality or continuing the fight to end employment discrimination.
US Representative Julia Brownley (D-CA)
"Today, the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act and reaffirmed our country's promise to the American people that all are equal under the law. This is a joyous moment for our nation as it moves one step closer to realizing our Constitution's promise of equality for every American, no matter who they love.
"The highest court in the land also returned marriage equality to California and Ventura County, giving thousands of same-sex couples and their children the recognition and protection they deserve. As our country continues to move forward on marriage equality, we must keep working together to recognize equality for all Americans."
US Attorney General Eric Holder
"Today's historic decision in the case of United States v. Windsor, declaring Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional, is an enormous triumph for equal protection under the law for all Americans. The Court's ruling gives real meaning to the Constitution's promise of equal protection to all members of our society, regardless of sexual orientation. This decision impacts a broad array of federal laws. At the President's direction, the Department of Justice will work expeditiously with other Executive Branch agencies to implement the Court's decision. Despite this momentous victory, our nation's journey - towards equality, opportunity, and justice for everyone in this country - is far from over. Important, life-changing work remains before us. And, as we move forward in a manner consistent with the Court's ruling, the Department of Justice is committed to continuing this work, and using every tool and legal authority available to us to combat discrimination and to safeguard the rights of all Americans."
US Representative Jared Polis (D-CO)
"Today's decision was a tremendous victory for the Country and has brought us one step closer to equality under the law for LGBT people and families. The Supreme Court, in striking down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), affirmed the love and commitment of married gay and lesbian couples around the country. But there is still more work to do and we must use the strength of this momentum to ensure that all LGBT people and families are treated equally under the law and have a fair shot at the American Dream."
US Representative Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ)
"By ruling the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional, our nation's highest court has affirmed our basic promise to our citizens. Every American has the fundamental freedom to care for their family and can expect equal treatment from their government. We've made historic progress in ensuring that every family can plan for the future and that every child can have access to the American Dream. Today, the Court reaffirmed that loving families in California have the legal ability and right to care for each other in committed, long-term family relationships. I congratulate the California families who have waited several years for today's ruling. For their families, the American promise of freedom, opportunity and security is real. However, today's ruling shows clearly that more work remains to be done. Every family in our country deserves the same security and protection afforded to families in California. I commit today with my colleagues around the country to continue to fight for the day every child, every couple, and every loving family enjoys the same happiness and security as those vindicated in today's ruling."
US Representative Mark Takano (D-CA)
"Today was a monumental day for families across America as we take a step closer toward full equality for LGBT Americans. By striking down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act and allowing the Ninth Circuit court ruling to stand on California's Proposition 8, the Supreme Court has restored marriage in California and brought full legal equality to thousands of married couples across the United States. But for individuals like Edith Windsor, this victory is about more than the benefits or tax credits they will receive. It is about the federal government finally recognizing their relationships as legitimate. The Supreme Court also did the right thing today in their historic decision regarding California's Proposition 8. While this ruling is the narrowest decision the justices could have made, it returns marriage equality to California and is unequivocally a step in the right direction. The court today is not imposing a decision on the American people, it's merely ratifying what has already been decided in the hearts and minds of the people. Even with these victories, the fight for equality is not over. Many legally married couples who now reside in states that do not recognize their marriages will not receive the full benefits of DOMA's end unless Congress takes action. Millions more LGBT Americans live in states that give no recognition to their relationships whatsoever, and we must continue to fight to end this injustice. I remain committed to this movement and will explore all possible options to ensure that all Americans, regardless of who they love, are treated the same under the law."
Gregory T. Angelo, Executive Director of Log Cabin Republicans
"Log Cabin Republicans thanks our allies and advocates around the country for their efforts, with special recognition to Republican Ted Olson, whose persuasive argument against Proposition 8 has cemented his legacy as a conservative hero on the right side of history, regardless of the scope of today's ruling. Now the fight continues in the states, and Log Cabin Republicans will continue to be on the front lines to take the conservative case for marriage to Republicans across the nation. History is on our side, and the wind is at our backs. We're not done yet -- not by a long shot."
US Representative Mark Pocan (D-WI)
"I am overjoyed that the Supreme Court has come down on the side of equality, justice and love by striking down the Defense of Marriage Act. No more will thousands of loving gay and lesbian couples see their marriage ignored by the federal government, leaving them without the protections opposite-sex married couples enjoy. With 58 percent of the country in favor of gay marriage, the momentum toward the goal of marriage equality for all is now at full steam--we have the country, the Constitution, and the Courts all on our side. As we celebrate this momentous occasion, we must continue to move forward and ensure all loving couples are treated as equals. While my husband Phil and I continue to wait to have our marriage recognized by both Wisconsin and Washington, I am now more confident than ever that full marriage equality is a question not of if, but when."
US Representative Joe Garcia (D-FL)
"Today's ruling is a historic step forward for equality and justice. Edie Windsor represents the courage of the millions of Americans who have fought and struggled for equality. I am proud to say that I joined many of my colleagues in Congress to sign an amicus brief against DOMA. But by no means does the fight for marriage equality end today. Today is just the tipping point. Today is the day we both celebrate and double down our efforts to make sure that all people are treated with dignity, respect and equality. As Americans this must be what we always strive for. Whether it is one's sexual orientation or how we treat the families of hard working immigrants, we can and must do better."
New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman
"The Supreme Court's decision to strike down the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act is a historic victory for the quintessentially American principle of equal justice under the law. Gay and lesbian Americans and their families have not only gained legal rights; but shed the unjust stigma that comes with being victims of legally sanctioned discrimination. Our nation has moved one step closer to fulfilling our founding ideals, and I am proud that New York was on the right side of history in this case."
National Minority AIDS Council Director of Legislative & Public Affairs Kali Lindsey
"Today's decisions allow same-sex marriages to go forward in the nation's most populous state, and ensure that all couples legally married in their states will receive full recognition, protection and benefits from the federal government. While these historic rulings will do much to advance equality for LGBT Americans, the battle is far from over. Constitutional bans on same-sex marriage remain in place in 29 states. Congress has yet to pass the Employment and Student Non-Discrimination Acts. LGBT individuals in the United States, especially those of color, face higher rates of homelessness and poverty than their heterosexual counterparts, while experiencing poorer overall health. In particular, gay and bisexual men continue to bear the heaviest burden of HIV in the nation."
Doug Johnstone, Town Clerk of Provincetown, MA
"For a town of many firsts, this is an historic moment for Provincetown, the site of the first arrival of pilgrims to the New Land and the start of our democracy, with the signing of the Mayflower Compact. We are grateful that our nation has judged in favor of honesty, devotion, commitment, family and love - the hallmarks of a great society."
Michael Adams, Executive Director of Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE)
"This is a joyous moment in our country's history, thanks in large part to Edie Windsor, who fought many hard-won battles along the way to this victory. Older lesbian and gay couples were especially hard hit by DOMA, and their health, well-being and quality of life will now be vastly improved. Congratulations to Edie, a longtime SAGE hero, on breaking down another barrier to full equality for LGBT elders!"
US Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius
"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."
People For the American Way Foundation President Michael Keegan
"Today isn't just a good day for the LGBT community. It's an important victory for all Americans who value the principle of equal justice under law and who believe that the long arc of the universe bends ultimately towards justice. I couldn't be happier that Section Three of DOMA and Prop 8 have been consigned to the dustbin of history. But we won't rest until couples in every state have an equal right to marry the under the law. There's plenty of work left to do. We can't wait to do it."
John Podesta, Chair of the Center for American Progress
"Almost exactly 46 years to the day after the Supreme Court's historic ruling in Loving v. Virginia, the Court has made yet another historic ruling reaffirming that marriage is one of our most basic civil rights. While today's rulings represent a huge victory for LGBT Americans and we should celebrate the return of the freedom to marry to our most populous state, it's unfortunate that the Court did not guarantee all Americans the right to marry the person they love. Nevertheless, the momentum for marriage equality is undeniable and unstoppable. I'm confident that all 50 states in the union will soon recognize that same-sex couples deserve all of the rights and responsibilities of marriage."
American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) & Hollingsworth Plaintiffs [entire release]
Today, in a historic victory for marriage equality, the United States Supreme Court issued a decision in Hollingsworth v. Perry that restores marriage equality to California.
The American Foundation for Equal Rights (AFER) is the sole sponsor of Hollingsworth v. Perry, the landmark federal constitutional challenge to California's Proposition 8. It is the first case involving the right of gay and lesbian Americans to marry ever to be fully briefed and argued before the Supreme Court.
In today's decision, the Court dismissed the Perry case for lack of jurisdiction because the Proponents of Proposition 8 do not possess legal standing to appeal the lower court rulings that invalidated Proposition 8. The decision makes permanent the landmark United States District Court ruling that found Proposition 8 unconstitutional.
As a result of today's decision, gay and lesbian couples will be able to marry in California once the District Court's judgment takes effect. In August 2010, the District Court held:
"Because California has no interest in discriminating against gay men and lesbians, and because Proposition 8 prevents California from fulfilling its constitutional obligation to provide marriages on an equal basis, the court concludes that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional."
"Today is a great day for American children and families," said Plaintiff Kris Perry. "Sandy and I want to say how happy we are, not only to be able to return to California and finally get married, but to be able to say to children in California that no matter where you live, no matter who your parents are, no matter what family you are in: you are equal, you are as good as your friends' parents and as your friends. We believed from the very beginning that the importance of this case was to send a message to the children of this country that you are just as good as everybody else no matter who you love, no matter who you're parents love."
"Today is not just about us, it is about kids in the South, it is about kids in Texas, it is about kids everywhere. And we really need to take this fight all the way and win equality for everyone in this entire country," said Plaintiff Sandy Stier.
"This is a historic victory for California, for equality, and, most of all, for loving gay and lesbian couples and their families. Because of this decision, today we are more American," said Adam Umhoefer, executive director of AFER.
"As historic as today's Supreme Court decision is, 37 states still treat gay and lesbian Americans and their children as unequal, second-class citizens. That means that countless children still do not have the security and protection that marriage would provide their parents. The Court needs to recognize that the Constitution guarantees these families and loving, committed couples full equality under the law. Our work is not complete until marriage equality is a reality for all Americans," added Umhoefer.
"The Perry case changed the conversation. It altered the game," said Plaintiff Jeff Zarrillo. "It created a groundswell of momentum and passion that brought us here to the Supreme Court today. Today, the Court said that I am more equal, that we are more equal, our love is just like our parents and grandparents and that any children we may have in the future will be more secure. I look forward to growing old with the man I love. Today is a great day to be an American."
"Today, we are closer to marriage equality for all," said Plaintiff Paul Katami. "We are lucky, but we know that this fight continues across the country. We cannot forget our LGBT brothers and sisters that are in states that still discriminate against them, and we will not allow it. We will continue the fight until all of us our equal. We stand on the shoulders of so many people that came before us. People that risked their lives to stand up and be who they are. They gave us the legs to stand up on today. They gave us the momentum to run with and the voice to speak loudly and say proudly: we are gay, we are American, and we will not be treated like second-class citizens."
Enacted in November 2008, Proposition 8 eliminated the fundamental freedom of gay and lesbian Californians to marry. With today's decision, California joins 12 other states and the District of Columbia in recognizing the fundamental right of gay and lesbian couples to marry. As the nation's most populous state, with more than 37 million residents, California substantially increases the number of Americans--approximately 94 million people, or 30 percent of the United States population--who live in a state with marriage equality.
"This is a momentous victory for America's constitutional commitment to equal rights for all. Today's decision by the Supreme Court permits the plaintiffs we represent--and tens of thousands of gay and lesbian Californians--to exercise the freedom to marry the person they love," said Plaintiffs' lead co-counsel Theodore B. Olson of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP. "With Proposition 8 finally gone, our nation moves one giant step closer toward the day when every American--in every state--will be able to equally enjoy the fundamental freedom to marry. This is a proud day for all Americans."
"After years of unjust and unlawful discrimination, gay and lesbian Californians will no longer be treated as second-class citizens, unworthy of the fundamental right to marry the person they love," said Plaintiffs' lead co-counsel David Boies of Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP. "As we have said from the very beginning of this case, the denial of that fundamental right seriously harms gay and lesbian Americans and the children they are raising. It serves no legitimate state interest. Our Constitution guarantees liberty and equality for all, and today that promise was fulfilled for tens of thousands of gay and lesbian Californians and their families."
The Supreme Court also issued a decision today in United States v. Windsor, concluding that Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional because it violates the Constitution's guarantee of equal protection of the laws. In an opinion by Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, the Court held that DOMA "demeans" gay and lesbian couples and "humiliates tens of thousands of children now being raised by [those] couples."
Enacted by Congress in 1996, Section 3 of DOMA nullified the marriages of gay and lesbian couples for all purposes of federal law. With the end of the Section 3 of DOMA, the federal government will no longer be permitted to exclude legally married gay and lesbian couples from the federal rights, benefits, and burdens that govern all other married couples.
The Windsor case was brought on behalf of Edith ("Edie") Windsor by the American Civil Liberties Union, the New York Civil Liberties Union, and the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP.
National Center for Lesbian Rights, GLAAD, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, United We Dream and Queer Undocumented Immigrant Project, GetEQUAL, National Center for Transgender Equality, Equality Federation, Lambda Legal and National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance [joint release]
Today marks a great victory for the most basic principles of fairness. Under the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), legally married same-sex couples have been denied recognition, benefits and protections provided to every other married couple. The Supreme Court's ruling is a long overdue recognition that same-sex couples and their families deserve equality under the law and we celebrate with all of those who have fought to see this day come.
As a coalition committed to compassionate, comprehensive immigration reform, we are thrilled for same-sex families in states that allow marriage equality that no longer need to fear being torn apart by our nation's broken immigration system. Like straight couples, U.S. citizens who are lawfully married will now be able to sponsor their foreign partners' roadmap to citizenship and keep their families together.
But our work is far from over. The end of DOMA is historic and will provide an estimated 28,500 same-sex binational couples with an easier roadmap to citizenship, but we are still fighting for all 11 million undocumented immigrants, including at least 267,000 LGBT immigrants. We will continue to fight to keep all families together and strengthen our immigration system's sensitivity to family needs.
As Congress debates critical immigration reform issues, our LGBT coalition will continue to advocate for the most accessible roadmap to citizenship possible, and we will continue to ardently oppose draconian amendments that would make all immigrants, including those who are LGBT, permanent second-class citizens and create undue hardships.
So much remains to be done in order for all of America's immigrant families to be able to live with dignity, pursue their dreams and work for a better future and quality of life. As we celebrate the end of DOMA, we also recognize that our fight for equality for all and family unity for all continues.
President Barack Obama (full statement)
I applaud the Supreme Court's decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act. This was discrimination enshrined in law. It treated loving, committed gay and lesbian couples as a separate and lesser class of people. The Supreme Court has righted that wrong, and our country is better off for it. We are a people who declared that we are all created equal - and the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.
This ruling is a victory for couples who have long fought for equal treatment under the law; for children whose parents' marriages will now be recognized, rightly, as legitimate; for families that, at long last, will get the respect and protection they deserve; and for friends and supporters who have wanted nothing more than to see their loved ones treated fairly and have worked hard to persuade their nation to change for the better.
So we welcome today's decision, and I've directed the Attorney General to work with other members of my Cabinet to review all relevant federal statutes to ensure this decision, including its implications for Federal benefits and obligations, is implemented swiftly and smoothly.
On an issue as sensitive as this, knowing that Americans hold a wide range of views based on deeply held beliefs, maintaining our nation's commitment to religious freedom is also vital. How religious institutions define and consecrate marriage has always been up to those institutions. Nothing about this decision - which applies only to civil marriages - changes that.
The laws of our land are catching up to the fundamental truth that millions of Americans hold in our hearts: when all Americans are treated as equal, no matter who they are or whom they love, we are all more free.