The Supreme Court of the United States found the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional, which means legally-married same-sex couples will receive the same benefits as other married couples.
When it passed Congress in 1996 and was signed into law by President Bill Clinton, all members of the New Mexico delegation voted for the law. Now, four of the five members of the New Mexico delegation support legalizing same-marriage.
Upon the news of the decision, President Barack Obama released a statement.
“I applaud the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act,” Obama said. “This was discrimination enshrined in law. It treated loving, committed gay and lesbian couples as a separate and lesser class of people. The Supreme Court has righted that wrong, and our country is better off for it. We are a people who declared that we are all created equal – and the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.”
New Mexico Telegram will update this post with the statements from the members of the U.S. House and Senate from New Mexico as we receive them.
Sen. Tom Udall:
“Today’s ruling by the Supreme Court reflects the growing progress made for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals around the country. Striking down the Defense of Marriage Act is a victory for thousands of loving, committed families who have been denied equality under the law for too long and will now be rightly treated as the full and equal citizens they are.
“I was proud to support legislation to repeal DOMA because I believed it was indeed unconstitutional, and I am glad to see this discriminatory policy put behind us.
“I am also glad that legally married same-sex couples are now eligible for the same federal benefits and protections afforded to other married couples. This includes Social Security survivors and spousal benefits, the right to care for and make medical decisions for their partners, file joint tax returns without unfair penalties, or receive partner benefits at work for federal employees – many of whom live and work in our state.
“Our Constitution enshrines the principle of equality, and our government should never permit or deny anyone’s rights based on their sexual orientation. New Mexico and our country are only strengthened by diversity, and we are better today because of this ruling.”
Sen. Martin Heinrich:
“The Supreme Court’s rulings today mark an extraordinary moment in our fight for marriage equality. Gay and lesbian couples who accept the responsibility of marriage should have all the rights that come with that responsibility. Depriving those rights is to deprive Americans of their dignity and the promise of equal treatment guaranteed by the Constitution. These cases are a historic step forward, but we must continue our march toward full equality for all Americans.”
Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (added 11:03 am):
“Marriage equality is a matter of civil rights and treating all people who are in loving and committed relationships fairly. The Supreme Court’s decision today reaffirms our country’s commitment to equal treatment under the law, and will ensure that the federal government will not discriminate against legally married same-sex couples. Finally, this discriminatory law will be wiped from the books, affording equal protections that all Americans deserve.”
Rep. Steve Pearce: (2:20 pm):
“The Supreme Court cannot reinvent such a vital and fundamental institution as marriage—the sacred and special union of a husband and a wife, and the foundation of the family. But yet again, unelected judges overruled the voice of the people, and rendered an activist decision to overturn a law that went through the democratic process. The court disregarded the decision to protect traditional marriage in federal law, which was supported by a strong bipartisan, bicameral majority, and signed by President Clinton. Today, Washington interests dealt another blow to the idea of government by the people. ”
Rep. Michelle Lujan-Grisham (3:53 pm):
New Mexicans have long been fighting for marriage equality, and today our voices have been heard. By striking down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, the Supreme Court has opened the door for same-sex couples all over the country to receive the federal protections and benefits they’ve been denied. And by dismissing the Hollingsworth v. Perry case, LGBT couples in California will once again be able to marry.
“As we celebrate today’s victories, we must remember that there’s still work to be done. For all those in New Mexico who have been steadfastly pursuing marriage equality, it’s time to walk through that open door and fulfill the constitutional promise of equality and justice for all Americans. That means not resting until same-sex couples in our state and throughout the nation achieve equal rights. The fight for marriage equality is about recognizing the lifelong commitment that LGBT couples have made to each other. It’s about promise, devotion and love. It’s about the principles and ideals upon which our country was founded.”