Statement of NOW President Terry O'Neill
June 26, 2013
The National Organization for Women is elated for the many same-sex couples whose loving, committed relationships will now be recognized in law a result of today's Supreme Court rulings on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and California's Proposition 8. While we still have not achieved a full constitutional right for same-sex marriage, we are buoyed by the court's decisions to strike down the discriminatory DOMA and to allow the federal trial court's overruling of Proposition 8 to stand. A longtime supporter of marriage equality, NOW has opposed DOMA and Proposition 8 from the start and has sought to advance the rights of those treated as second-class in our society.
Today's DOMA decision represents an enormous victory and a joyous day for married same-sex couples and their families -- and for the promise of equal justice under the law. Put simply, the court will impose a "careful consideration" standard of review on laws that treat couples differently based on sexual orientation. For thousands of same-sex couples, today's ruling means that they can better protect one another and their children by ensuring equitable access to the federal safety net.
In advocating to overturn Proposition 8, NOW has staunchly maintained that state constitutions are meant to defend the rights of minorities, even (or especially) when the majority threatens to eradicate them. Discriminatory legislation such as Proposition 8 has no place in a nation dedicated to equal rights for all people. With Proposition 8 now a thing of the past and same-sex marriage soon to be fully recognized in California, equal marriage rights cover over 30% of the country's population. Obviously, our struggle is far from over.
With these decisions adding to the momentum for marriage, NOW and our allies will continue working to win the freedom to marry throughout the United States.