A Statement from NCLR Legal Director Shannon Minter

(San Francisco, CA, July 8, 2010)—Today, in the cases Gill v. Office of Personnel Management and Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. Department of Health and Human Services, which challenge the constitutionality of the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA), Judge Joseph Tauro of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts ruled that the denial of federal rights and benefits to lawfully married same-sex couples is unconstitutional.

A statement from Shannon Minter, Legal Director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights::

“We are thrilled that the federal district court in Massachusetts has held that the discriminatory so-called ‘Defense of Marriage Act’ is unconstitutional. The judge rightly concluded that there is no legitimate reason for the federal government to prevent people who are legally married to a same-sex spouse from receiving benefits that are available to all other married couples. The court recognized that DOMA not only violates the constitutional rights of same-sex married couples, but it also unconstitutionally penalizes states that recognize same-sex marriage by denying them federal funding for public benefits provided to those couples. We extend our warmest congratulations and thanks to our colleagues at Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, and to our dedicated allies in the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office, for the tremendous victories they achieved today.”

Read the opinions at www.glad.org and http://www.mass.gov/Cago/docs/civilrights/DOMA%20Decision.pdf.

The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization committed to advancing the civil and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.