Reaction to the Supreme Court’s decision this morning finding the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional was swift.
Democratic State Sen. and gubernatorial candidate Barbara Buono issued a statement: “The Supreme Court’s decision overturning the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is a landmark moment for our country, our values and all those who have waited so many years to see this day. For too long, our gay brothers and sisters were discriminated against under the law simply because of who they loved.
“The DOMA violated our core beliefs as Americans – that all citizens deserve equal justice and equal rights under the law. Today’s ruling affirms that all Americans, regardless of their sexual orientation, must be treated equally and offered the same benefits under federal law. While the battle was arduous and the fighting was fierce, our country now stands firmly on the right side of history as a more free and welcoming place for all to live and love.”
Troy Stevenson, executive director of Garden State Equality, issued this statement:
“This is a truly monumental day for our community and in our movement for equal rights. Today, the Supreme Court has decided that the federal government can no longer discriminate in its treatment of married couples, gay or straight.
“However, the day is also bittersweet for New Jersey and in dozens of states around the country where discrimination continues and same sex couples remain relegated to second-class citizenship.
“New Jersey’s LGBT families will continue to be denied 1,138 rights and benefits granted to married couples by the federal government, even as those rights are conferred to LGBT families in our neighboring states. That is because New Jersey’s civil union couples are not afforded full marriage equality. The inequality has never been more clear, the debate is over, and the only solution is to grant the freedom to marry now.”
In New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie last year vetoed a same-sex marriage bill. Republicans at the time had called for a ballot question on the matter, but Senate President Steve Sweeney said civil rights matters are not ballot issues.
However, some same-sex marriage advocates in New Jersey have also speculated that maybe putting the matter before voters is their best option.
Senate President Steve Sweeney and Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg issued a joint statement:
“It is fantastic and truly historic that the Court has invalidated DOMA. That law went against what all of us know to be true: that people are entitled to marry the person they love regardless of gender. By striking down DOMA, the Court sent a message that inequality will not be tolerated in our country.”
“This decision marks significant progress in the ongoing fight for civil rights for all Americans. It is a shame that New Jersey stands so far behind the rest of the country and now the Supreme Court on this issue. It is time to finally establish marriage equality here in New Jersey and for those who have worked to obstruct true equality to get out of the way.”
And Speaker Sheila Oliver applauded the ruling.
“Today’s ruling is a tremendous victory for equality. I have long said that there is no place for discrimination in our laws or our constitution and this ruling affirms that,” she said in a release.
“DOMA’s discrimination went well beyond just the ability for same-sex couples to get married. Today’s decision illuminates the layers of discrimination that have been allowed to exist under this federal ban, the roughly one thousand discriminatory and financially-costly practices that have affected every facet of same-sex couples’ lives.
“This is a major step forward and will hopefully serve as a springboard for other states struggling to achieve equality, namely New Jersey.
“I would hope that this decision will make Gov. Christie and Republican members of our legislature take a circumspect look at the many ways in which their denial of support has allowed discrimination to continue to flourish in our state and recognize that it’s not too late to change this.”