For Immediate Release - March 26, 2013

AG Coakley Statement Urging U.S. Supreme Court to Strike Down DOMA and California's Proposition 8 as Unconstitutional

BOSTON –As arguments against California’s Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) proceed, Attorney General Martha Coakley released the following statement in advance of tomorrow’s hearing on DOMA:

“I believe in a country that allows all people to marry the person they love,” AG Coakley said. “As we’ve seen in Massachusetts, the institution of marriage has only been strengthened when we embraced marriage equality. I am hopeful that the Court’s decision will continue the great progress we’ve made toward fairness and equality, and our march on the right side of history.”

AG Coakley will attend tomorrow’s arguments regarding DOMA’s constitutionality in Washington D.C. Arguments on Proposition 8 took place today.

In 2009, at AG Coakley’s direction, Massachusetts became the first state in the nation to file a complaint alleging that DOMA violates the U.S. Constitution by interfering with its sovereign authority to define and regulate the marital status of its residents. Massachusetts is the only state to challenge DOMA and win, a decision upheld by the First Circuit last year.

AG Coakley, along with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and 14 other states, submitted a brief in the case of U.S. v. Windsor urging the Supreme Court to strike down DOMA as unconstitutional. DOMA defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman for the purposes of all federal laws.

AG Coakley has also fought Proposition 8 and led a multi-state effort urging the Supreme Court to strike down the law in February, submitting a brief in the case of Hollingsworth v. Perry, arguing that Proposition 8’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment and should be declared unconstitutional.

This matter was handled by Maura Healey, Chief of AG Coakley’s Public Protection & Advocacy Bureau, Jonathan Miller, Chief of AG Coakley’s Civil Rights Division and Assistant Attorneys General Joshua Jacobson, Genevieve Nadeau, and Gabrielle Viator, all of AG Coakley’s Civil Rights Division.

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