Statement by NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell

(San Francisco, CA, July 3, 2011)—On July 1, 2011, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a brief supporting federal court employee Karen Golinski’s lawsuit in which she seeks access to equal health benefits for her wife. In the brief on behalf of the Office of Personnel Management and other government defendants, the DOJ unequivocally argues in Golinski’s favor that the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional.

This brief contains the strongest argument President Barack Obama’s administration has made against DOMA to date, acknowledging the government’s “significant and regrettable role” contributing to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender discrimination. The DOJ advised the Obama administration to cease its defense of DOMA in court in February 2011, but the decision to affirmatively make the case against DOMA represents a significant and transformative moment in the struggle against this discriminatory legislation. Golinski is represented by Lambda Legal.

Statement by NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell:

“The brief is a powerful example of the fierce advocacy the LGBTQ community needs and deserves as we struggle to win recognition of our right to equal opportunity and justice under the law. All Americans who embrace a fair and inclusive society are grateful that the Justice Department and this administration share that vision. We applaud the work of the DOJ, the Obama administration, and our colleagues at Lambda Legal on behalf of Karen Golinski and all LGBTQ families.”

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.