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Pelosi Statement on Defense of Marriage Act Ruling

Washington, D.C. - Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi released the following statement today after the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was declared unconstitutional in a ruling by a US District Court in the Northern District of California: 

“Today's ruling is a victory for the liberty, civil rights, and equality of LGBT Americans and, indeed, all Americans.  By declaring the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional, we can right a wrong of our past; we can move closer to ending a fundamental unfairness in our nation; and we can look forward to the day when we discard this discriminatory law in the dustbin of history.  With this decision, our country has taken a step forward for marriage equality - a step toward a time when all of America's families enjoy the blessings of equal protection under the law.

“In rejecting the arguments of the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group, the court's ruling also reaffirmed a core belief of the majority of House Democrats: that the House is not united in this case; that the BLAG lawyers do not speak for Congress; and that BLAG's intervention remains a waste of taxpayer resources.  The court made it clear that there is no legitimate federal interest in denying married gay and lesbian couples the legal security, rights, and responsibilities guaranteed to all married couples under state law.  

“Today, we celebrate an extraordinary moment in our nation's history, and we pledge to continue fighting - in the courts, in state legislatures, and in Congress - until DOMA is repealed.  We must work to ensure every American has the freedom to marry; and every citizen is guaranteed fair treatment in our society and our nation.”

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Background

This afternoon, in a DOMA court case, a US District Court Judge in the Northern District of California (Judge Jeffery White) granted summary judgment in favor of the plaintiff, Karen Golinski. Karen Golinski, a federal employee, had sought to enroll her wife, Amy Cunninghis, in the federal employee health plan, and was refused on the grounds of DOMA. 

The court found “that DOMA, as applied to Ms. Golinski, violates her right to equal protection of the law under the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution by, without substantial justification or rational basis, refusing to recognize her lawful marriage to prevent provision of health insurance coverage to her spouse.”

'Accordingly, the Court issues a permanent injunction enjoining defendants....from interfering with the enrollment of Ms. Golinski's wife in her family health benefits plan.'

Ms. Golinski has been partners with Ms. Cunninghis for more than 20 years, and were legally married in 2008 under California law.

BLAG intervened in this case seeking to dismiss the case; the Judge denied BLAG's motion to dismiss, as well as rejecting BLAG's arguments in support of DOMA, including BLAG's citation of sources for the proposition that same-sex parenting is inferior to opposite-sex parenting.