Jubilant House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Wednesday hailed the Supreme Court's decision to gut the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), saying she knew the justices would find the law unconstitutional.
"[It's] no surprise to me that it was struck down," Pelosi said in the Capitol just minutes after the ruling was announced.
"This admission by the court that this bill was unconstitutional was a very important decision for our country, for not only what it means in the lives of people, but also it sends a message of not to be frivolous with the issue of discrimination in our country, and that's what this is about: discrimination," she added.
Pelosi, the Democratic leader, has long been a critic of DOMA, even as other prominent Democrats had supported its passage in 1996 and defended its message for years afterward.
Democratic support for the law began to erode last year after President Obama became the first sitting president to endorse same-sex marriage.
Pelosi has argued for years that GOP champions of DOMA have long feared that it would be ruled unconstitutional, noting that the Republican-led House passed legislation roughly a decade ago shielding the law from the courts.
"Why else would they have passed a bill … to protect DOMA from judicial review?" Pelosi said. "This is a confirmation of that."
Pelosi's office, which has kept a running tab on the taxpayer cost of GOP efforts to defend the law in court, said Wednesday that the total had hit $2.3 million.
In its 5-4 decision Wednesday, the Supreme Court found that the federal law, which defined marriage as between a man and a woman, denied same-sex couples their Fifth Amendment rights.
"DOMA instructs all federal officials, and indeed all persons with whom same-sex couples interact, including their own children, that their marriage is less worthy than the marriages of others," Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority.