Today is a historic day. The United States Supreme Court ruled on two landmark cases concerning the freedom to marry – the legal challenge to the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, which denies federal protections to legally married same-sex couples, and the legal challenge to Proposition 8, which stripped same-sex couples of the freedom to marry in California. The Freedom to Marry organization gives us the blow-by-blow important updates from today’s historic rulings.   

10:06 a.m. Love Wins: Supreme Court Strikes Down DOMA

The Supreme Court announced its decision in Windsor v. United States, voting 5-4 to strike down Section 3 of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, the 1996 law that denies legally married same-sex couples over 1,100 protections and responsibilities of marriage. By striking down Section 3 of DOMA, the Supreme Court has affirmed that all loving and committed couples who marry deserve equal legal respect and treatment. It marks an enormous victory for equal justice under the law and ends DOMA’s two-tiered system for marriage, which for over 16 years has forced the government to pick and choose among marriages and create a “gay exception” that only caused pain, uncertainty, and financial harm. 

Read the full opinion HERE.   

10:25 a.m. Supreme Court Dismisses Proposition 8

In a victory for the freedom to marry, the Supreme Court dismissed Hollingsworth v. Perry, declaring that the proponents of Proposition 8 lack legal standing to appeal the lower court rulings that have already invalidated Prop. 8. The historic ruling makes permanent the August 2010 Federal District Court ruling that found Prop. 8 unconstitutional and will result in the swift restoration of the freedom to marry in California, making the state the thirteenth (plus Washington, D.C.) where same-sex couples can marry. After marriage is restored in California, nearly one third of the U.S. population – more than 93 million Americans – will live in a state where same-sex couples can marry.

Now, with the victory in the Perry case building on the momentum for marriage, we will continue working to win the freedom to marry in more states, fully end federal marriage discrimination, and increase our broad-based, bipartisan majority support for marriage across the country. With that work, we can set the stage for a return before the Supreme Court soon to finish the job. 

Read the full opinion HERE.  

10:45 a.m. Freedom to Marry Founder and President Evan Wolfson Responds to Prop 8 and DOMA Rulings

“The Supreme Court has issued two rulings for freedom and fairness today,” Freedom to Marry Founder and President said on this historic day. “Striking down the heart of DOMA, the justices have affirmed that all married couples are equal, ending the ‘gay exception’ that relegated same-sex couples to second-class status for too long. Married couples – gay or non-gay – should be treated as what they are: married. And the ruling on Prop 8 ends marriage discrimination in California, meaning that nearly a third of Americans now live in a state with the freedom to marry.”

“This is truly a day of celebration for loving and committed same-sex couples and their families – and for all of us who believe in the American journey to equality under the law and the pursuit of happiness, with liberty and justice for all. The Supreme Court’s mortal blow to DOMA puts the moral weight of the federal government on the side of all Americans who seek to share in the freedom to marry and all its protections and responsibilities.”

“And with California now joining 12 other states as engines moving the country forward, Freedom to Marry will continue working our winning strategy: winning more states, fully overturning DOMA to end federal marriage discrimination, and continuing to grow the national majority for marriage. Before long we will be ready to go back before the Supreme Court and win the freedom to marry nationwide.” 

10:50 a.m. AFER Plaintiffs and Attorneys Discuss Prop 8 Ruling 

David Boies, one of the two attorneys on the Hollingsworth v. Perry case, delivered a press conference today on behalf of the plaintiffs and his colleague Ted Olson about the ruling in his case. Lead plaintiffs of the American Foundation for Equal Rights case Kris Perry and Sandy Stier also spoke. “Today is a great day for American children and families,” Perry said. “Not only that we will return to California and be able to get married, but also to be able to say to all of the children and families in California to say, ‘You are equal. You are as important as your friends and those other families.’ We can go back to California to our own children – all four of our boys – ‘We will be married and we will be equal to every other family in California.” 

10:55 a.m. Immigration Equality Applauds Supreme Court DOMA Ruling

Immigration Equality, a national organization fightingm for equality under U.S. immigration law for the LGBT community, applauded the landmark ruling in the DOMA case that will protect married same-sex binational couples.

“At long last, we can now tell our families that yes, they are eligible to apply for green cards,” said Rachel B. Tiven, executive director of Immigration Equality. “Many of our families have waited years, and in some cases decades, for the green card they need to keep their families together. Couples forced into exile will be coming home soon. Americans separated from their spouses are now able to prepare for their reunion. Today’s ruling is literally a life-changing one for those who have suffered under DOMA and our discriminatory immigration laws.”

“Today’s decision closes a discriminatory chapter in American immigration law. For 40 years, LGBT individuals were turned away at our borders; Congress called us unfit to be Americans. For LGBT couples, that exclusion continued until today,” Tiven said. “The Court did what Congress would not, and recognized that all loving couples are the same under the Constitution.”

11:20 a.m. How Edie Windsor Learned She Won

The New Yorker has an adorable blog post covering how Edie Windsor, the plaintiff in the landmark Windsor v. United States DOMA challenge, found out this morning that she won her case.

The post says: “Everyone at the apartment of Roberta Kaplan, the lawyer who argued Edith Windsor’s successful challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act, exploded in screams and sobs when the ruling came down. Kaplan called her mother and said, ‘Total victory, Mom: it couldn’t be better.’ Windsor said, ‘I wanna go to Stonewall right now!’ Then she called a friend and said, ‘Please get married right away!'”

11:30 a.m. Illinois Unites and Hawaii United Look Toward a Post-DOMA World

Illinois Unites for Marriage and Hawaii United for Marriage, state coalitions working to win the freedom to marry for same-sex couples in Illinois and Hawaii, respectively, celebrated this morning’s huge wins and looked to a post-DOMA future and why it’s more important than ever to pass marriage for same-sex couples.

Couples in Illinois and Hawaii are able to join together in civil union, a mechanism lower than marriage. With DOMA overturned, married same-sex couples living in states with the freedom to marry should soon be able to access over 1,100 protections and responsibilities of marriage. But couples with civil union will not have access to those federal protections.

Illinois Unites said today: “Today, the highest court in the United States struck down the core of the Defense of Marriage Act, affirming that all committed, loving couples need the respect and dignity of marriage. Today’s historic decision means that thousands of married lesbian and gay couples, in states where the freedom to marry is recognized, can better protect one another and their children. Now more than ever, it’s time for Illinois to join those states on the right side of history and grant those families the federal safety net that marriage can now provide them. The Illinois House of Representatives must act quickly and address this inequity by passing Senate Bill 10 in the upcoming veto session. Illinois cannot stand idle while the momentum for marriage continues across the country, and Illinois Unites will continue to work on winning the freedom to marry for all Illinois families.”

11:55 a.m. President Obama Tweets Congratulations in SCOTUS Cases

12:00 p.m. Edith Windsor and Attorney Roberta Kaplan Celebrate SCOTUS Victory

Edith Windsor, the plaintiff in Windsor v. United States, hosted a press conference today with her attorney, Roberta Kaplan, on the historic ruling striking down Section 3 of DOMA. Kaplan celebrated, “The days of the skim milk marriages are over for couples who live in states like Washington, Minnesota, or right here in New York.”

Kaplan went onto say: “This would not have happened without the tenacity and courage of the 5-foot tall, 100-pound woman, Edie Windsor, who celebrated her 84th birthday just days ago. … Edie and Thea’s own lives demonstrate, profoundly, why marriage and equality matter so much.

12:11 p.m. President Obama Applauds SCOTUS Ruling to Overturn DOMA

 

President Obama issued a statement applauding the Supreme Court today. He said:

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.

12:20 p.m. These 21 Families Were Just Protected by the Supreme Court’s DOMA Ruling

 

It’s a great day for married same-sex couples living in states with the freedom to marry – and for those who do not, this is a huge step forward. Check out these 21 families having an amazing day celebrating this victory – and read their stories.

1:15 p.m. California Governor Brown’s Statement on Historic Prop 8 Ruling

 

We’re seeing the beginning stages of the Proposition 8 decision – which restores the freedom to marry in California – being implemented. California Governor Edmund Brown commented on the decision today, saying, “After years of struggle, the U.S. Supreme Court today has made same-sex marriage a reality in California. In light of the decision, I have directed the California Department of Public Health to advise the state’s counties that they must begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in California as soon as the Ninth Circuit confirms the stay is lifted,” said Governor Brown.”

The governor has indicated that the California Department of Public Health will advise county clerks and county registrars that the decision applies statewide and must be followed. Couples will be able to marry when the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals confirms that the stay of the injunction is lifted.

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