Press Release

Gillibrand Praises Obama Administration’s Decision to No Longer Defend DOMA in Court

Feb 23, 2011

Washington D.C. – After U.S. Attorney General Holder’s announcement today that the Department of Justice, at the instruction of President Obama, will no longer defend Section 3 of Defense of Marriage Act lawsuits in court, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a leading voice in the Senate to repeal DOMA, released the following statement:

“Sexual orientation discrimination has no place in American law. I commend the Obama administration for upholding this American value today by concluding this statute is unconstitutional. 

“The fact is that history is moving in a direction that ensures gay and lesbian couples are offered the same basic rights as everyone else – the right to get married, start a family and receive the full benefits that come with it, and be counted the same as everyone else.  I look forward to the day when New York and all states accept this basic principle of fairness.

“The time for Congress to repeal DOMA is now, and I will work hard to make sure marriage equality becomes a reality for all.”

Repealing the Defense of Marriage Act would extend over 1,000 federal rights and hundreds of additional state rights to lesbian and gay couples who are married in states that allow gay marriage – rights including medical treatment and hospital visitation; medical proxy; inheritance; tax benefits; employee benefits for families, including health and life insurance, bereavement, sick leave, child rights and custodial protection, among many others.  These rights would also have the potential to be provided to married gay and lesbian couples living in New York, which recognizes out-of-state marriages.

Senator Gillibrand believes lesbian and gay couples deserve the same rights, responsibilities, benefits and obligation that opposite sex married couples have – and that come only through marriage equality.  Senator Gillibrand is committed to ensuring the same basic rights for everyone, and that’s why she’s working to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act.