Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, Congressman Jerrold Nadler, and Members of the LGBT Equality Caucus held a press conference on the Supreme Court’s rulings on the Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8. Below are her remarks:
“Well happy day, huh? ‘Equal justice under the law,’ those are the words inscribed into the walls of the Supreme Court, which by the way, I can see from my office. This is the value and the ideal upheld by the Supreme Court today.
“From the start, many of us had believed that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional. In fact, we believed the whole bill was unconstitutional. Today, the Supreme Court agreed and justice was done for thousands of LGBT families nationwide. Just think of what it means to them. From the start, many of us had believed that Prop. 8 had no place in in the state of California. Today, the Supreme Court agreed that justice will be done for loving LGBT couples across my home state.
“Indeed, on this day, nearly 44 years to the day after the Stonewall Riots turned the attention of the nation into the challenge against discrimination, against LGBT Americans, the Supreme Court bent the arc of history once again toward justice. With the decisions [of] the highest court in the land, the federal government will no longer discriminate against any family legally married in the United States, California will join 12 other states and Washington, D.C. in recognizing the basic rights of all families, [and] equal protection will not simply be a promise unfulfilled. It will be a promise kept.
“Today, victory is not the end of this journey for civil rights, for equality – our heritage and our hope. This ruling will only make us work harder – in the courts, in state legislatures, everywhere, to ensure that all men and women in every part of our country are granted equal rights, no matter who they love. This is an extraordinary day for American values, for America’s best traditions of progress, for LGBT Americans, and really, for all Americans. This is another day that will go down in the history books as a moment when our nation expanded the reach of the highest ideals of our Constitution and our democracy.
“I want to say on a personal note how important today is. I feel, personally, the inspiration of Harvey Milk. I admire the courage of Edie Windsor. I’ve heard her on occasion tell the story of her love. I know she’ll be speaking right now or just later today. I congratulate her. I thank her for her courage.
“I just want to say one more thing and that is: in March, a week apart, many of us on stood of the steps of the Supreme Court. One day, it was, as they were hearing the oral arguments on the Voting Rights Act. The next week, it was on Proposition 8 and DOMA. Many of the same people were there on both days because this is really the same subject about discrimination in our country.
“So, we have work to do in terms of expanding rights and ending discrimination against those in the LGBT community to make America more American. But we also have very important work to do on the Voting Rights Act, again, on the same subject. With that, I am very pleased to yield to a person who’s been a leader on this issue for decades, for a very long, long time – our distinguished Whip, Mr. Hoyer. Before he speaks though, I want to say that we’re waiting for one of our LGBT Equality Caucus Members. And then – they are our stars today. We salute them for their courage, for their leadership, and for the joy we all share today. And my guest, Mr. Cicilline, has just joined us now. Mr. Hoyer, and then our special guests.”