• Press Release

Court Ruling Declaring the Defense of Marriage Act Unconstitutional a Welcomed Step

May 31, 2012

Contact: Suzanne Trimel, [email protected], 212-633-4150, @strimel

(Washington) — Frank Jannuzi, head of the Washington office, Amnesty International USA, made the following comments today in reaction to a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston, which declared that the section of the Defense of Marriage Act that denies federal benefits to lawfully married same-sex couples is unconstitutional:

"We welcome this ruling against the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The Court has told the federal government that it can no longer deny to lawfully married same-sex couples the rights and privileges that every heterosexual couple enjoys. This ruling brings us one step closer to ending out nation’s shameful institutional discrimination against citizens who are members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community.

"The Court’s ruling reflects the rising tide of outrage over the inequality inherent in laws denying marriage equality to all citizens. We hope that if this case reaches the U.S. Supreme Court, the nine justices will uphold the ruling by the First Circuit. Eliminating DOMA would be an important step forward in one of the defining civil rights struggles of our time."

Amnesty International opposes the Defense of Marriage Act as blatant discrimination against LGBT couples. The organization believes the Constitution of the United States guarantees full equality under the law, including in questions of marriage, for all individuals, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.