For Immediate Release - March 27, 2013

AG Coakley Reacts to Arguments Urging U.S. Supreme Court to Strike Down the Defense of Marriage Act as Unconstitutional

BOSTON –After witnessing arguments urging the U.S Supreme Court to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), Attorney General Martha Coakley released the following statement:

“Our journey challenging DOMA began four years ago, and I am so proud of Massachusetts’ leadership on this basic issue of fairness,” AG Coakley said. “Everyone should be able to marry the person they love. I am hopeful that today’s arguments were another major step on the march toward marriage equality.”

AG Coakley attended today’s arguments regarding DOMA’s constitutionality in Washington D.C.

BACKGROUND:

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 California’s 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. Arguments against Proposition 8 were held yesterday before the Supreme Court.

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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