Defense of Marriage Act

The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is a federal law passed in 1996 that both created a federal definition of marriage as being between a man and a woman and expressly gave states permission to refuse to recognize marriages entered into by same-sex couples in other jurisdictions. The part of DOMA that defines marriage at the federal level – known as Section 3 – was a radical departure from 220 years of federal practice, which was to rely on each state to define marriage and to recognize any marriage legally entered into under state law as a valid marriage for federal purposes.

We are challenging Section 3 of DOMA on behalf of our client Edie Windsor in Windsor v. United States, which is currently pending before the Supreme Court of the United States. In June, the Court will rule on whether DOMA violates equal protection by treating married gay couples as unmarried in over 1,100 federal programs.

Bringing Marriage to "Modern Family"

Bringing Marriage to "Modern Family"

By Alicia Gay, ACLU at 10:34am
You might be asking yourself: What does Modern Family have to do with an upcoming landmark Supreme Court case about the freedom to marry? Well, the ACLU launched a campaign today urging Modern Family's producers to script a wedding episode for popular gay characters Mitchell Pritchett and Cameron Tucker. The campaign comes as Americans await the Supreme Court's decisions on two important LGBT equality cases challenging the federal Defense of Marriage Act and California's Prop 8. The ACLU is direct counsel in the DOMA case, United States v. Windsor. Additionally, a stream of states have recently passed marriage equality measures.
Three New Marriage States in Two Weeks – All Eyes Are On You, Illinois!

Three New Marriage States in Two Weeks – All Eyes Are On You, Illinois!

By Selene Kaye, ACLU at 10:34am

Yesterday, Minnesota became the 12th state in the country to approve a law allowing same-sex couples to marry. This comes on the heels of Rhode Island and Delaware approving freedom to marry laws in the last two weeks, and historic victories at the…

Tale of Two Marriages

Tale of Two Marriages

By Lorraine Kenny, Center for Liberty at 11:53am

This is the story of two couples; two couples who come out of the same post-war generation, and who built their lives around the same emotional core of love, commitment, and devotion to one another. And yet, their relationships were marked very differently by history and by the laws that governed their lives.

First Major League Athlete Comes Out

First Major League Athlete Comes Out

By Shawn Jain, Media Strategist, ACLU at 2:37pm

"I'm a 34-year-old NBA center. I'm black. And I'm gay."

With these 12 words and a powerful feature in the new issue of Sports Illustrated, Jason Collins has come forward as the first male athlete to openly identify as gay while still being…

The ACLU and Windsor: "The future is ours. Equality is in this country's DNA."

The ACLU and Windsor: "The future is ours. Equality is in this country's DNA."

By Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director, ACLU at 10:45am

I sat in the Supreme Court yesterday hearing the historic arguments in the Windsor case. I felt a mixture of pride...

Today at the Supreme Court: Ms. Windsor Goes to Washington

Today at the Supreme Court: Ms. Windsor Goes to Washington

By James Esseks, Director, ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender & AIDS Project at 7:55am

I'm writing from DC, where "Team Edie" has spent the last few days in intense preparations for today's Supreme Court oral arguments in Edie Windsor's challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act.

Edie's case presents a straightforward question…

How the ACLU Helped Get Us To Today's Marriage Moment

How the ACLU Helped Get Us To Today's Marriage Moment

By James Esseks, Director, ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender & AIDS Project at 12:06pm

As the Supreme Court takes up the challenge to California's Prop 8 today, and the ACLU's challenge to DOMA tomorrow, it's clear that we've reached a tipping point on marriage for same-sex couples. Public opinion on this issue has reached approval levels…

A Conservative Rabbi's Case for Marriage Equality

A Conservative Rabbi's Case for Marriage Equality

By Jan Uhrbach, Rabbi at 2:09pm

I'm a rabbi, so I support marriage equality. My support of marriage equality is an expression of my faith...

Marriage in New Mexico, Civil Unions in Colorado – The Wave Continues!

Marriage in New Mexico, Civil Unions in Colorado – The Wave Continues!

By James Esseks, Director, ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender & AIDS Project at 10:36am

It seems like every time you turn around these days, someone is announcing new support for the freedom to marry, which is the result of years of groundwork that the ACLU and other organizations have laid to get us to this incredible place.

Yesterday…

Marriage Equality is a Workers' Rights Issue

Marriage Equality is a Workers' Rights Issue

By Nicole G. Berner, Associate General Counsel, Service Employees International Union & Elena Medina, Law Fellow, Service Employees International Union at 12:09pm

Next week, the Supreme Court will hear oral argument in two historic cases relating to marriage equality. In Hollingsworth v. Perry, the Justices will consider the constitutionality of...

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