In highly anticipated ruling, the Supreme Court ruled the federal Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional.
The 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, was signed into law by President Bill Clinton, barring federal recognition of same-sex marriages for purposes such as Social Security survivors’ benefits, insurance benefits, immigration and tax filing.
Section 3 of the law defines marriage as “a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife” and a spouse as “a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.” That provision had been struck down by eight lower courts before the Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling in United States v. Windsor.
Here is a running compilation of reactions by Florida’s elected officials and politicians:
Senator Marco Rubio:
“I believe the Supreme Court made a serious mistake today when it overstepped its important, but limited role. I do not believe that President Clinton and overwhelming bipartisan majorities of both houses of Congress acted with malice or intent to ‘demean’ a class of people when they adopted a uniform definition of marriage for the purposes of federal law. The Court should not have second guessed the will of the American people acting through their elected representatives without firm constitutional justifications. The sweeping language of today’s majority opinion is more troubling than the ruling itself as it points to further interference by the Court in the years to come.
“I recognize that the definition of marriage and the legal status of same-sex relationships is a deeply personal and emotional issue for Americans of a variety of viewpoints. These types of disagreements should be settled through the democratic process, as the Founders intended, not through litigation and court pronouncements.”
Full statement here.
Congresswoman Lois Frankel wasted little time attempting to raise funds from the ruling:
Florida Democratic Party chair Allison Tant:
“As Democrats, we are committed to full equality for every American. Today, the Supreme Court moved us further toward that goal. All married couples will now enjoy the federal benefits and protections they have been wrongfully denied for years. There is still a long road ahead before we achieve full equality for GLBT Americans, and here in Florida we stand committed to continue this fight.”
Representative Mark Danish:
“I applaud the SCOTUS decision today striking DOMA. All citizens deserve equal rights and to be governed by the same laws. I have enjoyed my marriage and have beautiful and amazing children, and I am blessed for a great life. I look forward to my friends in the LBGT community to soon share in these sacred parts of life’s happiness as I have.”
Representative Darryl Rouson:
“This is a significant day for our nation. My hope is that one day Florida will join those states in recognizing the equality of all people to marry. Today, I challenge Governor Rick Scott and the Republican leadership in Tallahassee to do justice, walk humbly, and listen to the clarion call for marriage equality as other freedom-loving states have done. This is about the people.”
Representative Joe Saunders:
“These rulings to strike down DOMA, and reinstate the ability of California’s same-sex couples to be married are monumental for the rights of LGBT people everywhere. They prove the country is moving everyday toward full marriage equality and basic fairness for LGBT Americans. Meanwhile in Florida, even while opinion polls tell us that people believe gay Floridians should be treated like everyone else, the Florida legislature has done nothing to create even the most basic protections.
“A third of the country now has access to the full rights and responsibilities that come from marriage equality making the economic implications of inequality in Florida all the more consequential. If we can’t prove to these families that we’re serious about treating them fairly and equally, they’ll leave our state and take their tax dollars and small businesses with them.”
Representative Linda Stewart:
“I applaud the Supreme Court’s sound legal decision to strike down key parts of the Defense of Marriage Act; a bill passed in the name of morality that intentionally discriminates against other Americans in profoundly immoral ways. Any legislation that alienates a single class of people because of whom they are or who they love has no place in a country in which its founding promise has always been equality before the law. … The past has shown that equality does not always come quickly, and never cheaply; the forces of justice have often fought those of prejudice and misunderstanding, and lost. But today’s ruling proves that while it is not always a steady or even march toward basic civil rights for millions of Americans, it is surely an inevitable one.”
Representative Alan Williams tweets:
Closer to a more perfect union! Liberty & Justice for all!
ACLU of Florida LGBT Rights Staff Attorney Daniel Tilley:
“The core of the last federal law mandating discrimination against gay and lesbians has been struck down. Today’s victory in the ACLU and Edie Windsor’s challenge to DOMA marks the beginning of the end of discrimination by the federal government against gays and lesbians. This is a victory for fairness, for families, and for the countless couples across the nation like Edie and her late partner Thea who have too long been denied the protections of marriage.
“For gay and lesbian Floridians who married in other states, this victory means that they now have access to many important federal rights, including the right to sponsor a spouse for immigration purposes. However, because many federal benefits of marriage are based on the state in which you live and because Florida’s discriminatory Constitutional ban on fairness in marriage remains in place, those protections remain shut off.
“The fight for equality under the law for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people is not over yet, but today marks perhaps the most important legal victory to date in that fight. This historic win means the wind is at the backs of those fighting for freedom and fairness. The ACLU of Florida and our coalition partners will continue working to ensure that all Americans – regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity – are treated the same under the law.”
Equality Florida’s Nadine Smith:
Today’s rulings are a major step forward for the country, but for Floridians they fall far short of justice and are more than anything a call to action.
For those of us who live in state’s like Florida where our marriages are still not recognized, today’s rulings are a reminder that we cannot wait for justice to be handed to us, we are going to have to get engaged and fight.
A majority of Floridians support the freedom to marry, and this is our moment to stand up and get engaged on the right side of history.
Today our rights as Americans are not based on our shared citizenship, but upon our geographic location. More than 86 million Americans, nearly one-third of the country, live in states with full marriage equality, with the state and federal protections families need. Today the Supreme Court has said we can go states like Minnesota or Iowa and get married, but we return to Florida legal strangers in our home state.
Equality Florida launched the Get Engaged campaign (www.imengaged.org) to call on the growing number of Floridians who support equal rights and the freedom to marry to act on their beliefs; to talk to their family, friends and neighbors about why marriage matters and about why no loving, committed couple should be excluded from marriage.
Now is the time to be vocal, be visible and join the fight today!