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.

Following Historic Supreme Court Decision Striking Down DOMA, Administration Acts

Following Historic Supreme Court Decision Striking Down DOMA, Administration Acts

By Ian S. Thompson, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 3:32pm

Following Wednesday's historic decision by the Supreme Court striking down the heart...

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.

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…

Working Towards an LGBT-Inclusive Platform

Working Towards an LGBT-Inclusive Platform

By Ian S. Thompson, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 4:28pm

On Thursday evening, BuzzFeed reported that the draft 2012 Democratic National Platform includes, as part of an overall endorsement of the freedom to marry for same-sex couples, a call for passage of the Respect for Marriage Act in Congress. …

NOM Marriage Pledge: A Discriminatory, Tone-Deaf Pitfall

By Ian S. Thompson, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 5:45pm

The anti-gay National Organization for Marriage (NOM) has been asking presidential hopefuls to sign a pledge stating, among other things, that they would:

support an amendment to the U.S. Constitution barring recognition of marriages involving…

Same Old Political Games: Seeking to Delay and Derail DADT Repeal

Same Old Political Games: Seeking to Delay and Derail DADT Repeal

By Ian S. Thompson, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 1:38pm

Last week, during consideration of the Department of Defense Appropriations Act in the House of Representatives, congressional opponents of Don't Ask Don't Tell (DADT) repeal succeeded in attaching two anti-gay, political, "red meat" amendments…

Wedding Planning: New York-Style

Wedding Planning: New York-Style

By Michael Cummings, New York Civil Liberties Union at 1:06pm

With New York State's new law giving lesbian and gay couples the freedom to marry set to take effect on July 24, thousands of same-sex couples are facing complex and serious questions regarding their rights — questions most wedding planners can't answer.

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...

VICTORY! Senate Committee Votes to Repeal DOMA

VICTORY! Senate Committee Votes to Repeal DOMA

By Ian S. Thompson, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 11:46am

Senate Judiciary Committee passed the Respect for Marriage Act by a vote of 10-8!

Marriage For All Comes to New York!

By Sam Ritchie, ACLU at 2:06pm

…and the ACLU was there! From Niagara Falls to New York City, the NYCLU and ACLU were at wedding ceremonies all over New York State yesterday, talking to happy same-sex couples and their families as they finally got to tie the knot.

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