San Francisco â€“ Equality California Executive Director Geoff Kors issued the following statement hailing todayâ€™s historic ruling by U.S. District Court JudgeÂ Joseph Tauro striking down Section 3 of the discriminatory federal policy known as the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Under the ruling, the plaintiffs are entitled to the same federal spousal benefits and protections as every other married couple.
â€œThis is a great victory for same-sex couples and their families in California and across the nation who will gain access to the vital federal protections and freedoms afforded to married couples, should this groundbreaking decision be upheld.
â€œGiven that part of the arguments in the Federal District Court case to overturn Prop. 8 are similar, we are hopeful for a favorable decision in California, affirming that denying same-sex couples the freedom to marry is unconstitutional.â€
TheÂ MassachusettsÂ Attorney GeneralÂ Â Martha Coakley had argued the law denied benefits such as Medicaid to gay married couples in Massachusetts, where same-sex unions have been legal since 2004.
Tauro agreed, and said the act forces Massachusetts to discriminate against its own citizens.
“The federal government, by enacting and enforcing DOMA, plainly encroaches upon the firmly entrenched province of the state, and in doing so, offends the Tenth Amendment. For that reason, the statute is invalid,” Tauro wrote inÂ his ruling.
Ruling in a separate case filed by Gays & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, Tauro found that DOMA violates the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution.
“We’ve maintained from the very beginning that there was absolutely no basis for this law treating one class of married Massachusetts couples different from everybody else and the court has recognized that,” said Gary Buseck, GLAD’s legal director.
Good news for equality. It would be great if Attorney General Holder were to decide not to appeal, but I’m not holding my breath.