Statement by NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell
(San Francisco, CA, December 7, 2012)—Today, the United States Supreme Court announced that it will hear the challenge to California’s Proposition 8 and one challenge to the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
Proposition 8 is the 2008 measure that stripped marriage equality from same-sex couples in California, and was struck down in 2010 by former Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn R. Walker, who found that the measure discriminates against same-sex couples in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution. The decision striking down Proposition 8 was upheld earlier this year by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
DOMA was enacted by Congress in 1996 and nullifies the marriages of gay and lesbian couples for purposes of federal law. DOMA states “the word ‘marriage’ means only the legal union of a man and a woman as husband and wife, and the word ‘spouse’ refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.” DOMA prevents same-sex married couples from receiving federal benefits that all other married couples receive, such as Social Security spousal benefits and health insurance for spouses of federal employees.
The challenges could be heard by the Court as early as March 2013, with a decision by the end of June 2013.
Statement by NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell, Esq.:
“Both the federal DOMA and California’s Proposition 8 serve only one purpose: to harm and stigmatize same-sex couples and their children. Without a doubt, Ted Olson, David Boies, and our colleagues at the ACLU will make the strongest possible case for equality before the Court. We are confident the Supreme Court will strike down DOMA once and for all next year, and, after four long years, will finally erase the stain of Proposition 8 and restore marriage equality to California couples. The day is now clearly in sight when the federal government, the State of California, and every state will recognize that same-sex couples and their children are entitled to the same respect and recognition as every other family.”
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.